Lewis Capaldi, Dave among front-runners for UK’s Brit Awards

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LONDON (AP) – Singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi and rapper Dave led the nominations Tuesday for the U.K. music industry’s Brit Awards, which have been criticized for the lack of female artists nominated for the high-profile prizes.

Capaldi, who topped U.K. and U.S. charts with his single “Someone You Loved,” and Dave, who won the 2019 Mercury Prize for his album “Psychodrama,” are both nominated for four Brits, including male solo artist and album of the year.

Capaldi took the first award of the evening, new artist of the year, during the ceremony at London’s O2 Arena.

Other multiple nominees include grime artist Stormzy and singer-songwriter Mabel, who are each up for three awards.

Mabel, daughter of musician Neneh Cherry, was named female solo artist of the year, She said on the red carpet that it was “such a lovely sort of full-circle moment” to perform at the Brits 30 years after her mother did the same.

Stormzy, Lizzo and Harry Styles are scheduled to perform during the awards show at London’s O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall. Teenage star Billie Eilish is set to give the first public performance of her James Bond theme song “No Time to Die” alongside her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell, composer Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr, former guitarist for The Smiths.

Whitehall quipped that 18-year-old Eilish, who won five Grammy Awards last month, was “the only teenager in the world who makes Greta Thunberg look lazy.”

Marr said the choice of Eilish to write and perform the theme to the next Bond thriller was “a very cool and smart choice.”

“It would have been very easy to do something that was very obvious. I think, with Bond,” he said.

Eilish is also a favorite to take the prize for international female artist of the year.

At the other end of the musical age spectrum, 75-year-old rocker-turned-crooner Rod Stewart will be closing the show, accompanied by former Faces band mates Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones.

Previously an unpredictable and sometimes ramshackle event, the Brits have been refashioned in recent years as a slick showcase for British talent. But the awards have been criticized over the years for failing to reflect the diversity of British music and being slow to embrace the emergence of genres including home-grown British grime and hip-hop.

In 2017, the academy of more than 1,000 music industry professionals that chooses Brits winners was expanded in an attempt to make it more gender balanced and diverse. Last year female nominees outnumbered men for only the second time in the event’s 40-year history.

But this year only four nominations out of a possible 25 in categories that are not gender-specific feature women. No female performers are included on the shortlists for best group or album of the year.

Lewis Capaldi performs on stage at the Brit Awards 2020 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
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