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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 08:07 GMT
Brits 2008: the dark horses
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Okay, realistically, it's a good bet that Take That, Leona Lewis and Mika will probably walk off with at least one Brit this year.

Sales figures have been through the roof, particularly Leona whose album Spirit has sold more then 50% of the total for the entire best British female category.

But there could be a few surprises in there - think Belle & Sebastian winning the breakthrough artist in 1999 (despite being on their third album). Here are a few of our dark horses...

Best British Male

Jamie T

Jamie T

Of all the dark horses, Jamie T is arguably the most mainstream thanks to hits like Sheila and Calm Down Dearest.

The 22-year-old south Londoner beat Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jarvis Cocker to best solo artist at the 2007 NME awards.

His debut album, Panic Prevention, charted at number four and was nominated for the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize.

It eventually lost out to Klaxons' Myths of the Near Future.

This summer, Jamie T has been confirmed to play Scotland's T in the Park and the Oxygen Festival in Ireland.

Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley

Another Mercury Prize nominee, eventually losing out in 2006 to Arctic Monkeys' debut album - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

The decision prompted Monkeys singer Alex Turner to shout: "Someone call 999, Richard Hawley's been robbed!", as the band accepted the award.

The album, Lady's Bridge, is Hawley's most successful to date, reaching number six in the album charts.

Although he's seen as an artist's artist, whose work is always critically well receieved, Hawley is certainly not as well known as the other nominees in the British male category. He probably has the most to gain from winning.

Best British Female

Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes

Bat for Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, has picked up two Brit nominations, also featuring in the Breakthrough category - voted for by Radio 1 listeners.

Yet another Mercury nominee, Khan's debut album, Fur and Gold was one of the 2007 favourites to win.

Khan's music has been compared with singer-songwriters like Bjork and Kate Bush.

But again, the area which lets her down is sales. Fur and Gold's highest chart position was number 48.

Her most recent single, What's A Girl To Do?, reached the heady heights of number 141.

She has started work on her second album.

PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey

Polly Harvey is the most established artist in the running in this category.

Over her 16 years in music, she has won the 2001 Mercury Prize plus two further nominations, six Brit nominations, and five Grammy nominations.

Rolling Stone named her Artist of the Year in 1995, and placed two of her albums on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

A firm favourite of other bands and singers, Harvey's critical success has mostly overshadowed her commercial success.

Best International Female

Feist

Feist

Leslie Feist is a Canadian solo artist and one of the founding members of Broken Social Scene.

In a category which includes Alicia Keys, Kylie, Bjork and Rihanna, Feist is the real outside bet.

Before launching her solo career in 1999, Feist, armed with a sock puppet, used to join her friend and flatmate Peaches on stage.

Her biggest international hit to date has been the single, 1234, which was used in an iPod nano commercial.

It will have to be a major upset for Feist to win this award.

Best International Band

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire, another Canadian band are a firm festival favourite in the UK.

The seven piece, based in Montreal and lead by Win Butler, played the Leeds and Reading Festivals, as well as Glastonbury and Latitude in 2007.

They were nominated in this category at Brits 2006, plus nominations for international breakthrough and international album for Neon Bible.

They eventually lost out to Green Day and Jack Johnson.

Arcade Fire have another chance in this year's international album category, up against Kings of Leon, Kylie Minogue, Foo Fighters and rock legends The Eagles.

SEE ALSO
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