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The Brit Awards Got Its Critics' Choice Shortlist Right This Year

Mabel, Stefflon Don and Jorja Smith? Music to my ears.

by Lauren O'Neill
29 November 2017, 10:52am

Here is a complete list of the winners of the Brit Awards' Critics Choice accolade since its inception in 2008:

2008 - Adele
2009 - Florence and the Machine
2010 - Ellie Goulding
2011 - Jessie J
2012 - Emeli Sandé
2013 - Tom Odell
2014 - Sam Smith
2015 - James Bay
2016 - Jack Garratt
2017 - Rag 'n' Bone Man

It does not make for particularly pleasant reading, unless you're the sort of person whose music taste begins and ends with whatever is getting the most play on a Radio 1 drivetime playlist. A brief summary: the Brits Critics' Choice award has gone to white men who essentially sound the same since 2013, and has been won by a person of colour once ever (Emeli Sandé in 2012), despite the huge impact that black artists in particular have had on British music – especially in terms of the R&B, rap, grime and soul recently interpreted by so many exciting, and overlooked, talents. And while the award may have reflected the fact that the winners selected went on to sell a lot of records, they've also always been extremely 'safe' and boring, and nowhere near reflective of the creativity and originality that UK music has to offer.

For 2018, that changes. The shortlist for the 2018 Brits Critics' Choice award is an embarrassment of riches. The three nominees are Mabel, Jorja Smith, and Stefflon Don – all of whom, we at Noisey have long pegged for greatness – and they're three of the most exciting pop stars the UK has birthed in a long time. Finally, The Critics seem to be agreeing on something good.

Their collective nomination recognises the fact that we're currently having a boom in amazing woman solo artists, and they each bring something unique to the table. Mabel is a pop princess updated for the 21st century (in that she's actually cool). Jorja Smith follows in the footsteps of timeless singers like Amy Winehouse. And Stefflon Don represents the grand tradition of UK rap that the award has so far ignored. I honestly wouldn't care who won when the result is announced next Monday 4 December, because the list is such a good snapshot of where we're at right now. More like this in future, please Brits.

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