While the past 12 months have been, well, rubbish for pretty much all of us, it has to be said that there’s been some brilliant music in that time, so we were curious to see exactly who would end up bagging nominations at the Brits.
As ever, there were a few pleasant surprises in the mix, but also some acts that we were shocked didn’t end up making the cut.
Here are 11 of the stand-out snubs and surprises from this year’s Brits shortlist…
SURPRISE – Arlo Parks
Album Of The Year, Female Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist
Our main take-away from this year’s Brits nominations is sheer excitement for Arlo Parks, who has emerged as one of the top contenders at the upcoming awards.
We’ve been singing Arlo’s praises for a while now, and even though we knew she was more than deserving of Brits recognition, we weren’t quite sure whether she was mainstream enough yet to land a nomination outside of Breakthrough Artist.
However, with nods in the Album Of The Year and Female Solo Artist categories, we’re over the moon to say she proved us wrong. If you haven’t checked out her dreamy debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, now is the perfect time to remedy that.
SNUB – Kylie Minogue
International Female Solo Artist
We accept that the International Female Category was an especially stacked one in 2021 (more on that to come, we can assure you), but we’re still surprised the Brits couldn’t make some room for Kylie Minogue, a long-time friend of the awards show.
Last year saw Kylie storming to number one in the albums chart with her latest release, Disco, which also received rave reviews and inspired her fantastic live-streamed performance, Infinite Disco (Disco actually ended up being one of the biggest albums of 2020, one spot below Album Of The Year nominee J Hus).
Disco may not have spawned any top 40 singles – but veteran act Bruce Springsteen still got a nod in the International Male category off the back of his chart-topping release, so it’s a shame the Brits couldn’t give Kylie the same recognition after a huge year for the Australian star.
SNUB – Lady Gaga
International Female Solo Artist
Like Kylie, Lady Gaga had a monster-sized (if you’ll pardon the pun) 2020, thanks in no small part to her album, Chromatica, which topped the UK albums charts and spawned the top 10 hits Stupid Love and Rain On Me.
Again, competition was stiff in the International Female category this year, so we understand that not everyone is going to get one of the five slots going. With stats like those, though – not to mention huge praise for Chromatica – former Brits winner Gaga is definitely a notable absentee from the list.
SURPRISE – Billie Eilish and Cardi B
International Female Solo Artist
Obviously, Billie Eilish and Cardi B are totally worthy recipients of Brit Awards nominations (the former is actually the reigning winner in the International Female category), with both of them scoring multiple hit singles in the eligibility period.
However, traditionally artists will have had to release an album in the 12 months since the previous year’s Brits to be in contention for an award, so we were surprised to see that the rules have changed for 2021′s ceremony.
It’s a bit of a shame, too, as so many international female artists have had success with album releases in the past year, only to miss out on a nomination.
Still, both Cardi and Billie each topped the UK singles chart in 2020, so no one can say either of them is undeserving of their spot.
SNUB – Megan Thee Stallion
International Female Artist
Megan Thee Stallion was responsible for one of 2020′s biggest hits (the iconic Cardi B collaboration WAP), and just came from being awarded Best New Artist at the Grammys.
The Texas-born rapper’s debut album Good News did miss out on a top 40 placement in the UK, so in any other year we’d understand her not getting nominated.
However, given that, like Cardi and Billie, she has a UK number one to her name in the past year – as well as her omnipresent Savage remix, featuring a certain Beyoncé – we’re a bit gutted for Megan that this wasn’t enough to land her first Brits nomination.
SNUB – KSI
Male Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist
Moving on from the international categories for a minute…
After initially gaining a loyal following on YouTube, KSI released his debut rap album in 2020, peaking at number two in the UK and getting the thumbs up from fans and critics.
Dissimulation led to two top 10 hits (his 2020 Nathan Dawe collaboration also peaked at number three), but despite his chart success, KSI was noticeably absent in both the Breakthrough Artist and Male Solo Artist categories.
Still, the future is definitely bright for the internet personality. The three singles from his still-upcoming second album have all peaked within the top three, and he did manage to land one nomination this year, for the aforementioned Nathan Dawe collab Lighter.
SNUB – Charli XCX
Album Of The Year, Female Solo Artist
Charli XCX has become well-known for dancing to the beat of her own drum within the music scene, and in 2020, she set herself a challenge to create a brand new album while quarantining at her home in Los Angeles.
The result was the critically-acclaimed How I’m Feeling Now, one of Charli’s best-received albums to date.
How I’m Feeling Now was even shortlisted for the Mercury Prize last year, so we wouldn’t have been totally surprised to have seen it get some recognition in the Album Of The Year category at the Brits. Sadly, despite a nod in 2020 off the back of her third album Charli, the Brits failed to nominated the British star this year.
SNUB – Slowthai
Male Solo Artist, Album Of The Year
Undoubtedly an artist that knows how to get people talking, Slowthai managed to best his debut when he released his second album Tyron in March 2021, topping the UK albums chart.
The Biebs’ 2020 album Changes was far from his most acclaimed, but it did manage to pick up a handful of nominations at the Grammys in 2021, including Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance.
We thought this could have translated to some Brits recognition, too, but it wasn’t to be, with Justin missing out on the International Male shortlist.
SURPRISE – Jessie Ware
Album Of The Year
We’ve had Jessie Ware’s album What’s Your Pleasure? on repeat since the day it was released, so we had everything crossed that she’d be picking up at least one nomination at this year’s Brits.
Imagine our joy, then, when she picked up two, including Album Of The Year, the biggest award of the night. Much deserved, and we couldn’t be happier for the singer, podcast host and occasional cook.
The 2021 Brit Awards will take place live at The O2 Arena on 11 May, with comedian Jack Whitehall on presenting duties for the fourth year in a row.
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