Singer Sande in line for big prize at BRIT awards
US-BRITS:Singer Sande in line for big prize at BRIT awards
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - Scottish singer Emeli Sande is favorite to win the coveted British album of the year honor later on Wednesday when the BRIT Awards are handed out in London.
Sande, whose profile received a major boost when she took part in the opening and closing ceremonies at the London Olympics last year, has been nominated for three prizes on British pop's biggest night.
She was shortlisted for best British female, which she is expected by bookmakers to win, and best British single for "Next to Me". Sande also features on another contender for the single prize, Labrinth's "Beneath Your Beautiful".
Arguably the biggest category is British album, where Sande's "Our Version of Events" is up against other acts who each picked up three nominations - Mumford & Sons for "Babel" and Alt-J for "An Awesome Wave".
Sande, who had Britain's best-selling album in 2012, has hit back at critics who have questioned whether she had been over-exposed in the last 12 months.
"I feel like it's a bit unfair," she told the Sun tabloid. "I actually haven't done that much, but it's just what I have done have been huge events.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I worked so hard to get any exposure at all, so I don't see that as a negative."
Adele looks set to add to her groaning trophy cabinet with the best single award for James Bond theme "Skyfall", while U.S. acts Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean are bookmaker Ladbrokes' favorites for best international female and male respectively.
"There's a nailed on favorite in every category and it's hard to see any last minute upsets at this stage," said Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge.
It may be that the big surprises this year at the BRITs, which have a reputation of rewarding commercial success over musical originality, came at the nominations stage.
Last month eyebrows were raised when Amy Winehouse was nominated in the British female solo category some 18 months after her death for a chart-topping album of unreleased songs and demos called "Lioness: Hidden Treasures".
And veteran rockers the Rolling Stones were shortlisted for best live act after they returned to the stage for a short, sellout tour of London and the United States at the end of 2012 to mark 50 years in the business.
The last time the group was nominated for a BRIT was in 1996, and the Rolling Stones are the only act to be nominated both at this year's ceremony at the O2 Arena and at the first BRIT Awards staged in 1977.
Performing at the awards ceremony will be Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Muse, Robbie Williams, Sande, Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard and One Direction.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)