With days to go until this year’s Brit Awards, UK stars Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa and Jess Glynne are leading the race with four nominations each.
Other homegrown acts including George Ezra, Florence and the Machine and last year’s Critics’ Choice recipient Jorja Smith have also made this year’s shortlist, while international stars like Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Drake are also up for gongs.
However, as is so often the case during awards season, a couple of acts we’d expected to be dead certs were noticeably absent when the nominees were announced last month, while there are also a few inclusions we raised our eyebrows at too.
Here are 10 of the surprises and snubs that stuck out for us on this year’s Brits nominations list...
SURPRISE – Sam Smith
Best British Male
If you cast your mind back a year, you’ll recall us expressing our surprise that Sam Smith had seemingly been completely forgotten about at last year’s Brits, despite having topped the chart with his sophomore release The Thrill Of It All.
Sam even performed during the ceremony, despite him missing out on all of the categories he was eligible for, but is a surprise nominee for this year’s gongs.
The Thrill Of It All was released in November 2017, meaning it does fall into the eligibility period for the 2019 Brits, but that doesn’t mean we were any less to see Sam’s smiling face among the nominees.
SNUB – Rita Ora
Best British Female
Rita Ora’s sophomore album was a long time coming (six years, to be exact), so we really expected that this would be her year at the Brit Awards.
Unfortunately, the British Female category was a particularly stacked one by the time Phoenix came along, with Rita missing out on a coveted spot as Anne-Marie, Florence and the Machine and last year’s Critics’ Choice recipient, Jorja Smith made the list instead.
It’s not all bad news for Rita, though, as she has not one but two nods in the Best Video category. And given that this category is voted for by fans, and one of the videos she’s up for is a collaboration with former One Direction singer Liam Payne, she might well be on track to scoop her first ever Brit, even without a Best Female nomination.
SNUB – Clean Bandit
Best British Group
This year’s ceremony marks the first time that Clean Bandit has been eligible for the Best British Group category since 2015, but in the last four years, they’ve experienced huge chart success with number one singles Symphony, Rockabye and, more recently, Solo.
Unfortunately, despite their Demi Lovato collaboration receiving nods in the Best British Single and British Video categories, they’re not in the running for British Group.
Still, their album What Is Love? was released in late November, and if Sam Smith has taught us anything this year, it’s that there’s every chance Clean Bandit might crop up among the nominees in 2020...
SNUB – Post Malone
Let’s just take a look at the stats, shall we?
Post Malone is one of only a handful of artists who actually managed to get a UK number one album in this year’s eligibility period, which was largely dominated by soundtrack albums and, of course, Drake.
He’s also racked up six top 10 singles in that time, including the chart-topping Rockstar, while Beerbongs & Bentleys was even up for Album Of The Year at this year’s Grammys.
It’s interesting, then, that he’s totally absent from this year’s Brits shortlist.
SURPRISE - Barking and Leave A Light On
Best British Single
The eligibility periods for Best British Single and Video are slightly different to the artist categories, with the songs supposedly having to have been released between 1 January 2018 and 31 December that same year.
Not one but two of this year’s nominated tracks were released prior to the 1 January, with Ramz’s Barking debuting in December 2017, and Tom Walker’s Leave A Light On coming out a full two two months prior.
However, neither charted in the UK’s Official Singles Chart until 2018, which we assume is how they’ve managed to make the Best British Single shortlist.
SNUB - Kylie Minogue
Best International Female
There’s no questioning that women in music brought their A-game in 2018, making both British Female and its international counterpart particularly competitive categories at this year’s Brit Awards.
That being said, we were surprised to see no love for Kylie on the International Female shortlist. Like Post Malone, she’s also one of the handful of artists who managed to release a chart-topping album in the last 12 months, with Kylie making appearances here, there and everywhere to promote her latest release.
Kylie’s also a friend of the Brits – who could forget her Justin Timberlake Rapture duet or live rendition of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head? – and even co-hosted the show with James Corden and Mathew Horne in 2009.
Even more surprisingly, this was the year the Brits recognised an international act in their Outstanding Contribution category, though the distinction has gone to Pink rather than Kylie.
SNUB - Arctic Monkeys
Best British Album
True, Arctic Monkeys don’t have all that much to complain about, having already made the shortlist for Best British Band, but it’s surprising this didn’t also translate to a nod in the big category of the night, Best British Album.
Admittedly, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is probably among Arctic Monkeys’ most polarising releases ever, but we gave the experimental album our thumbs up, even if some fans were left a little baffled.
And surely it’s better for our homegrown rock stars to be divisive rather than safe, right?
SURPRISE - No Best Soundtrack category
We suppose this probably constitutes both a surprise and a snub, but we were a little disappointed that the surge of successful soundtracks in 2018 wasn’t reflected at the Brits.
The Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording category was done away with in 2001, but given the dominance of The Greatest Showman in the pop charts these last 12 or so months, plus the arrival of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and A Star Is Born later in the year, this would have been the perfect time to bring it back.
Meanwhile, the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther soundtrack was nominated for no fewer than eight Grammys, so only would have needed another of 2018′s pop star-heavy OSTs – Love Simon and Suspiria immediately come to mind – to make up a Brits shortlist.
The Greatest Showman hasn’t been completely forgotten, though, with Hugh Jackman set to open the show.
SNUB - Troye Sivan
If you recall, the release of Troye Sivan’s Bloom album – a collection of songs celebrating queer love, romance and intimacy – was sadly overshadowed last summer, by Eminem’s surprise Kamikaze drop, which was widely criticised for its use of a homophobic slur slap-bang in the middle of it.
It’s a shame, then, that in the International Male category, the Brits have chosen to recognise the latter, but not the former.
Still, at least he had a Golden Globes nomination to keep him warm this awards season...
SNUB – K-Pop
The last year has proved that K-pop is going absolutely nowhere in 2019, as evidenced by the mass hysteria (dubbed “the new Beatlemania” by NME) sparked when BTS touched down in London towards the end of last year.
Both they and girl group Black Pink released new albums in 2018, but neither of them have made the Best International Group shortlist, and while the K-pop fanbase here in the UK continues to grow, the genre has been completely overlooked at the upcoming Brits.
Find out how this year’s nominees get on when this year’s Brit Awards air live from London’s O2 Arena on Wednesday 20 February.