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The BBC's Graham Satchell
"Britain is struggling for its own male artists"
 real 28k

banner Friday, 3 March, 2000, 19:24 GMT
Open field for Brits
Tom Jones and the Stereophonics
On-stage collaboration: Tom Jones and the Stereophonics

The UK music industry is waiting to see who has won the 2000 Brit Awards - with club duo the Chemical Brothers leading a wide open field.

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have four nominations for awards at Friday's ceremony, which is being held at Earl's Court in London.

Click here to read a full list of nominees.

Organisers of the show - the UK's equivalent of the Grammys - are promising a spectacular show to celebrate the music industry's achievements in the past year.

the Chemical Brothers
Leading the pack: Tom Rowland and Ed Simons
The Chemical Brothers are nominated for best British album for Surrender, best British dance act, best British single for Hey Boy, Hey Girl, and best British video for Let Forever Be.

Other names in the frame for awards include Fatboy Slim - aka Norman Cook, broadcaster Zoe Ball's husband - and dance group Basement Jaxx, who are both on three nominations.

Scottish rock band Travis are also on three nominations, including best British group, single, and album for The Man Who, which was 1999's biggest selling album by a home-grown act in the UK.

Travis have three nominations
Their rivals for Best British group include Blur, who celebrated a decade together last year, Gomez, Texas and Stereophonics, who are also nominated for best British album for Performance and Cocktails.

Best British male is dominated by older acts. Tom Jones, David Bowie, Sting and Van Morrison line up against Ian Brown, the 37-year-old former Stone Roses singer.

Best British female sees a battle between Spice Girls singer Melanie C and former colleague Geri Halliwell. They are up against Beth Orton, Beverley Knight and Gabrielle.

Fatboy Slim
Right up there: Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook
Halliwell is also nominated for Best Pop Act, a new category designed to honour mainstream acts which might not have the critical credibility to make it into the main sections. It also features Steps, S Club 7, Martine McCutcheon, Ann Lee and Five.

Robbie Williams - who dominated the 1999 Brits - is nominated for two awards this year, as are Britney Spears, Macy Gray and Jennifer Lopez, who face each other in both the best international newcomer and female categories.

Live appearances will come from stars including Will Smith and Ricky Martin, while collaborations on stage will include Tom Jones with the Stereophonics and Five with the remaining members of Queen - Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon - who will perform the latter's anthem We Will Rock You.

Geri Halliwell
Geri Halliwell: Rumours of Spice Girls reunion
Queen and Five's performance will use some 30 drummers from around the world, including Japanese Kodo drummers and the Stomp drumming troupe.

But the prospect of a collaboration between Geri Halliwell and the Spice Girls - who are picking up an outstanding achievement prize - has caught the headlines.

Both groups are due to perform separately, but Halliwell has said she will not be collecting the prize with her former bandmates, whom she left in May 1998.

Danbert Nobacon
Brits past: Danbert Nobacon's encounter with John Prescott made headlines
The history of the Brits is littered with fiascos and controversies - most memorably the shambolic 1989 ceremony hosted by Mick Fleetwood and Samantha Fox, and Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker's stage invasion to protest at Michael Jackson's performance in 1996.

Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was drenched with water by Danbert Nobacon from the band Chumbawamba in 1998.

Organisers will be hoping for a quiet year for 2000's event, which is hosted by television presenter Davina McCall.

BBC Radio 1 will be broadcasting live from the Brits between 2100 and 2300 GMT on Friday, and the ceremony will be shown on ITV on Saturday from 2100 GMT.

Click here to read a full list of nominees.

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See also:

29 Feb 00 |  Brit Awards
Brits preview: Reasons to be cheerful
31 Jan 00 |  Brit Awards
Brits 2000: The nominees
29 Feb 00 |  Brit Awards
Will gets jiggy at the Brits
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