Stage set for annual Brit Awards

Some of the top names in British pop including One Direction and Mumford and Sons will gather Wednesday for the biggest night in the music calendar when the annual Brit Awards are held at London's O2 Arena.

The event could see Amy Winehouse awarded a posthumous Brit after the late soul singer was nominated for best British female solo artist against acts including singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé.

Winehouse, who was found dead at her London home in July 2011, scooped the award in 2007 on the back of her Grammy Award-winning "Back To Black" album.

Sandé, Mumford and Sons and Mercury Prize-winning indie rockers Alt-J lead the nominations, competing for three awards each.

The most prestigious award of the night, best British album, will be fought out between Sandé's "Our Version Of Events", Alt-J's "An Awesome Wave", "Babel" by Mumford and Sons, Plan B's "Ill Manors", and Paloma Faith's second album "Fall To Grace".

Sandé, who performed at the London 2012 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, is odds-on favourite to scoop the best female artist and best album awards.

The nominees for best British male solo artist are Ben Howard, Calvin Harris, Olly Murs, Richard Hawley and Plan B.

Those in contention for the best British group award include One Direction, Mumford and Sons and Muse.

Ageing rockers the Rolling Stones have been shortlisted for best British live act, the first time they have been in the running for an award at the event for 17 years.

The Brits will see live performances from Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake and One Direction as well as Sandé.

The awards chairman said this year's ceremony would make amends for last year's memorable howler which saw Adele interrupted as she accepted her best British album award over fears the event would overrun its live TV time slot.

The star was cut off in mid-flow by host James Corden as she collected the trophy, her second of the night, a move which prompted the singer to raise her middle finger at the crowd.

Adele said the gesture was not aimed at her fans but was an indication of her frustration at the "suits" who ran Britain's top music awards.

David Joseph, the Brits chairman and chief executive of music giant Universal's UK arm, said this year's ceremony was likely to "rewrite that wrong".

"How can you take an artist who has made the biggest cultural impact musically this country has seen globally for some time and cut her off in the middle of her speech?" he told The Guardian.

"I very much to this day question what was happening in that control booth. I can hint something is going to happen this year to rewrite that wrong."

Adele is the bookmakers' favourite to land this year's best British single award for her James Bond theme "Skyfall".

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