The big Brit Awards Preview: Who is set for a gong in 2012?

Brit-Awards-O2The 32nd Brit Awards will be held on 21 February at The O2 Arena. The glitzy annual award show will see the great and good of the British music industry gathering for a collective slap on the back. Here’s who we think could be in the running for a good night.

Mastercard British Album of the Year

Arguably the biggest award of the night – at least for those with serious musical aspirations – we reckon Adele’s 21 is in with a huge shout of winning the best album award. She’s had more positive attention from a broader range of press sources than anyone else on the list, although Mercury prize-winner PJ Harvey is a bit of a dark horse.

Other contenders: Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Florence and The Machine, PJ Harvey

British Male Solo Artist 

We reckon Ed Sheeran’s got this one all sewn up, despite only having been on the scene for the past year or so. Britpop stalwart Noel Gallagher and trend-surfing dubstep-balladeer James Blake might have something to say about that, of course, but Sheeran seems to have that valuable “universal appeal”.

Other contenders: James Blake, James Morrison, Noel Gallagher, Professor Green

British Female Solo Artist

Another one for Adele, we reckon – again, because of the enormous amount of goodwill that seems to have built up around her on both sides of the pond. There’s strong competition on the female side, mind, with Florence and the Machine (isn’t she a they?) and Jessie J big enough to produce a few doubts.

Other contenders: Florence and The Machine, Jessie J, Kate Bush, Laura Marling

British Group 

Coldplay are a safe bet for best British group in so many ways – not least because they’re one of the handful of artists set for a live performance. Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian are also in with a good shout, but we can’t see this one going to anyone but Coldplay.

Other contenders: Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Chase & Status, Elbow

British Breakthrough Act

The Vaccines could be in for success in the British breakthrough category, as there’s a palpable sense that the UK rock press is looking for the next-big-thing-with-guitars. The west London indie band look like the most likely to fill that gaping hole – but then Ed Sheeran is also nominated in this category.

Other contenders: Anna Calvi, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande, Jessie J

British Single

One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful is favourite with the bookies in the best single category, and who are we to argue with the bookies? 

Other contenders: Ed Sheeran, Adele, Example, Jessie J, JLS, Gareth Malone, Olly Murs, Pixie Lott, The Wanted.

International Group

Looking outside Britain, we can see long-running arena rock act Foo Fighters taking the best International group award. With REM calling it a day earlier in the year, the Foo Fighters have moved up in the super-massive band rankings.

Other contenders: Fleet Foxes, Jay Z & Kanye West, Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5

International Male Solo Artist

Bon Iver has had a memorable year, attracting rave reviews for his second album and generally being loved by all. It’s this widespread acclaim – even if he’s not quite your typical international superstar – that has us tipping him for success.

Other contenders: Aloe Blacc, Bruno Mars, David Guetta, Ryan Adams

International Female Solo Artist

Rihanna looks good for the best international female solo artist. She’s got some very strong competition in Lady Gaga and Beyonce, who both had massive years, but Rihanna’s the one booked in to perform live.

Other contenders: Beyonce, Bjork, Feist, Lady Gaga

International Breakthrough Act

Bon Iver seems to be in with a good shout here, too, for his stellar rise to fame in 2011. Having said that, Lana Del Rey’s out-of-nowhere impact with that glum song about video games gives us pause for thought. But surely that’s too little too late? And, don't rule out Foster The People, who you will no doubt remember for their barnstorming hit single "Pumped up kicks." Here is a little video from our Priority Moments campaign to remind you.

Other contenders: Aloe Blacc, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj.

And the rest

Of course, the Outstanding Contribution To Music (Blur) and Critics Choice (Emeli Sande) awards have already been decided, so you don’t need our predictions there!