The longlist of 20 finalists has been selected for the Next Big Thing 2007, the BBC's global search to find new musical talent.
13-piece Wicked Aura are the biggest group to enter
The final selection was chosen from a total of 2,000 entries from 88 countries - over twice the number of countries as the previous year.
They include a Tanzanian gospel singer, an Italian DJ, and a group of 13 Brazilian-influenced Singaporeans.
There are also two orchestras, multi-lingual Kenyans, Belgian and Russian dance acts and a vocal group performing the traditional music of ancient Serbia.
Anoushka Shankar, one of a panel of judges selecting the finalists, described the submissions as "wonderful music."
"I was amazed at the quality of all the music," she added.
Music's big names
A number of rock groups have made the last 20, including Axis, from Lithuania; Hraun, from Iceland; Instiga, from Brazil; and King Tut, from the USA.
Solo females are also well represented, with Maya McCallum of France, Penny Broadhurst of the UK, Tshila of Uganda and Jamaicans Sherita Lewis and J Cee all making the longlist.
The selection panel, which also includes singer Tori Amos and soul star Omar, is also considering comments from the public, posted to the Next Big Thing MySpace page.
THE FINAL 20
Beatrice Moss (Tanzania)
Ha Ha Orchestra (UK)
J Cee (Jamaica)
Jeremie Johnson (UAE)
King Tut (USA)
Maya McCallum (France) (pictured)
Noam Faingold Orchestra (USA)
Penny Broadhurst (UK)
Sherieta Lewis (Jamaica)
Shortcut Therapy (Spain)
Wicked Aura (Singapore)
The five finalists chosen by the panel will be announced on 3 December.
The final five will then fly to London to perform in front an all-star jury who will pick the winner.
The jury, headed by producer William Orbit, also includes Indian percussionist Talvin Singh, Tahita Bulmer of indie band New Young Pony Club, and legendary musician and producer Nile Rodgers - whose work, with acts such as David Bowie, Madonna and Britney Spears, has featured on albums selling over 100 million copies.
The final will be broadcast on BBC World Service on 9 December and on BBC World television on 22 December.
The winning act will perform in front of a live audience of 3,000 people at London's O2 arena as part of the celebrations for BBC World Service's 75th Anniversary in December, alongside some of the big names in music.
Last year's winner, Silva, went on to have a number one hit in her home country Armenia and played the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Others who made the final 20 in 2006 included The Clik Clik, set to release their first single next month, and Pilades, who went on to support Deep Purple and Steppenwolf in concert.