The contenders for the 2020 Brit Awards are now waiting patiently to find out if they’re among this year’s winners.
Chart-toppers Lewis Capaldi and Dave have each received four nominations, including recognition in top categories like Album Of The Year and Best New Artist.
Sadly though, with limited space in each category, some artists are always going to be left out in the cold – despite their best efforts – while others may be pleasantly surprised to hear they’re in the running for a gong this year.
Here are the 11 biggest snubs and surprises from this year’s nominees...
SNUB - Ed Sheeran
Male Solo Artist
Kicking things off with perhaps the most obvious omission, Ed Sheeran already has six Brit Awards to his name, including the Global Success title, which he’s won for the last two years running.
He’s also had huge commercial success with his latest collaborations album No. 6 Collaborations Project, which has topped the albums chart on both sides of the Atlantic and spawned an impressive three number one singles.
And yet, the Brit Awards have paid it dust. Either they aren’t considering the release a “proper” album (which would be interesting, as the Grammys have chosen to give it a nomination) or, like many critics, they were simply unimpressed.
SNUB - Taylor Swift
International Female Solo Artist
In many ways, Taylor Swift is riding high right now, celebrating her recent Artist Of The Decade win at the American Music Awards and gearing up for her headlining debut at Glastonbury next summer.
However, the Lover era has also been a bit of a mixed one for Taylor, with singles like the over-the-top ME! and polarising You Need To Calm Down garnering a mixed reception, not to mention her ongoing drama involving her former record label and music manager Scooter Braun.
After many pointed out she’d been snubbed by the Grammys, Taylor has also been overlooked by the Brits in the International Female category. This is particularly noteworthy given how a) recently-released Lover was and b) lukewarmly-received nominee Camila Cabello’s most recent album was.
SURPRISE - D-Block Europe
Group Of The Year
We’re going to be honest, we’re not especially familiar with the work of D-Block Europe, who released two mixtapes in 2019, both of which charted in the top 10.
But when we sat down to make our Brit Awards predictions, we couldn’t help but notice how stale many of the British groups who released charting music were in 2019, so to see a group as refreshing as this lot getting recognition is an exciting prospect, and probably something the Brits is in need of.
SNUB - Sam Fender
In 2019, Lewis Capaldi finished as runner-up in the Critics’ Choice category, behind Sam Fender, who has suddenly found himself playing second fiddle a year later.
Although his Best New Artist nod is to be commended, we’re a little surprised to see the Brits not choosing to push their former Critics’ Choice recipient a little more following the release of his debut album, with a particular omission in the Best Male category.
SNUB - Liam Gallagher
Best Male Solo Artist
Technically still only two albums into his solo career, Liam Gallagher’s first album earned him a Best British Male nomination in 2018, and we had kind of assumed that his sophomore effort would do the same.
His absence is particularly noteworthy as the Brits is celebrating its 40th show in 2020, and Liam has been responsible for some very famous (or should we say infamous?) moments at the awards show over the years.
We’re not particularly upset at this snub though, especially given how many times Liam made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2019.
SURPRISE - Harry Styles
Best Male Solo Artist, Album Of The Year
That same year when Liam earned his first Brit Award nomination, Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album was completely overlooked (apart from in the British Video Of The Year category, though these nominees were determined by YouTube views rather than a panel).
Fast-forward a year, though, and Harry’s second effort Fine Line has earned him not just recognition in the British Male category, but also the much-coveted Album Of The Year, where he’ll face off against past winner Stormzy, with whom he was involved in a release-week chart battle at the end of last year.
SNUB - Lil Nas X
International Male Artist
So on one hand, this makes perfect sense. Lil Nas X’s 2019 release 7 was actually an EP, not a full-blown album, which means he’s probably not eligible for the International Male Solo Artist category.
But then, why doesn’t 7 count but D-Block Europe’s mixtapes do? And if the Brits aren’t counting 7 as an album, why are the Grammys, where Lil Nas X is up for multiple awards including, tellingly, Album Of The Year? And if the Brits are bending the rules a bit for D-Block Europe, why not for Lil Nas X in a year he’s had huge hits and smashed chart records the world over?
What we really want is for 2020 to be the year musicians stop confusing everyone with EPs and mixtapes, and go back to just releasing actual albums (or maybe a three or four-track EP as a treat), to avoid head-scratching moments like this one.
SURPRISE - Mabel
Best New Artist
Again, at first glance Mabel is a more-than-worthy nominee for Best New Artist in 2019. It was, after all, the year she released her biggest hit to date, Don’t Call Me Up, as well as her debut album High Expectations.
The surprising thing is that 2020 is actually the second year in a row that Mabel has been nominated for Best New Artist. She previously lost out to Tom Walker in 2019, when the award was still known as British Breakthrough, and had been a nominee in the Critics’ Choice Award a year earlier.
So while we’re big fans of Mabel, we can’t help but feel the contenders for Best New Artist be a little more... new.
SURPRISE - Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus
Song Of The Year
Again, a track released in 2018 might seem like an unlikely nominee at the 2020 Brit Awards, but Nothing Breaks Like A Heart was released within the eligibility period, and didn’t really make its biggest impact until 2019, which is how it’s ended up on the list (even though a whole Brit Awards ceremony has already been and gone since we first heard this song).
SNUB - Liam Payne
Best Male Solo Artist
Yes we know, we know, LP1 wasn’t exactly a success among critics (who could forget that scathing Guardian review?), but the Brits did invite Liam Payne to perform at the show in which they announced their nominees, so it seems a bit much to have snubbed him completely.
It should also be noted that Liam does have three solo Brit Award nominations, not to mention his seven wins as a member of One Direction.
SNUB - Every female artist in Britain who released an album in the last 12 months
Album Of The Year
There are five slots in the Album Of The Year category, and this year all five of them have gone to male artists, with Stormzy, Dave, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi and Michael Kiwanuka all in the running.
It’s most certainly not the case that no British women released albums worthy of Brit Award recognition in 2019 – indeed, five of them have been nominated in the Female Solo Artist category – so our question is... what are the Brits playing at?
No women have been nominated in the Group Of The Year category either, a category where very few female artists have ever been nominated, and even fewer have actually won (from what we can work out, Five Star and Gorillaz are the only winning bands with female members, and one of those is a literal cartoon character).
The male-heavy short list is a particularly disappointing sight after last year’s top nominees were all women, and while the diversity among this year’s top contenders is not to be overlooked either, it’s still a shame that more women haven’t been recognised in the top categories in 2020.
Let’s hope this is something that can be rectified this time next year when, if rumours are to be believed, the Brits is planning to do away with gendered categories.
The Brit Awards 2020 will take place on Tuesday 18 February, and will air live on ITV.