Sam Ryder, Elton John and Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine and Little Simz are among this year's biggest Brits snubs and surprises
The nominees for this year’s Brit Awards have now been announced, and while it’s exciting news for frontrunners Harry Styles and Wet Leg – who have each received three nods – we can’t help but feel there are a few additional artists who deserved recognition.
Similarly, there are a couple of curveballs on the list of nominees that we definitely weren’t expecting to see.
Here are all the snubs and the surprises from the list of Brit Awards nominees, starting with the most alarming of them all…
SNUB: British Women
Artist Of The Year
While the inaugural Best British Artist prize – the result of Best British Male and Best British Female being merged – was won by Adele this year, the Brits failed to recognise a single woman in the category.
It’s not like there’s a shortage of women who were eligible either, with music fans wasting no time in pointing out female artists that would have been deserving of recognition.
Among them were former Brits winners like Florence + The Machine, Mabel and Little Simz, as well as nominees Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama, all of whom released new albums in 2022 that either enjoyed chart success or critical acclaim (or, indeed, both).
We should point out that female artists haven’t been snubbed completely. We’ve already mentioned that Wet Leg are among the year’s top nominees, while the International Female Artist category sees Beyoncé, Lizzo and Taylor Swift in the running against Burna Boy and Kendrick Lamar.
SNUB: Florence + The Machine
Best Rock/Alternative Act
We’ve already mentioned her above, but while we appreciate that the Artist Of The Year category was probably going to favour more chart-friendly acts, we’re stunned that the Brits didn’t give Florence + The Machine any love at all this year.
Florence’s 2022 album Dance Fever was a true return to form for the former Brit winner, with singles like King, My Love and Free among her best work ever.
As the second ever recipient of the Rising Star award, and a previous Album Of The Year win for Lungs, we’re a little bit stunned and a lot disappointed to see the British star not receiving a single nomination in 2023.
SNUB: Little Simz
Little Simz was one of the leading nominees at last year’s Brits, where she picked up the award for Best New Artist. In the year that’s passed, her star has only risen even further, snagging the Mercury Prize for Sometimes I Might Be Introvert and won huge praise for her festival performances, including a fantastic set at Reading.
She ended 2022 by surprise-releasing a new album, No Thank You, and while it wasn’t a huge chart success, it was still very well-received by music fans, so we’re feeling a little confusing as to why the Brits wouldn’t want to recognise one of last year’s winners at the upcoming ceremony.
SURPRISE: Dua Lipa
Best Pop/R&B Act
As soon as Dua Lipa’s name was announced for the Best Pop Act category, we were a little taken aback. Not because Dua isn’t deserving of the title, of course – she’s one of the UK’s biggest exports and we’ve still got her last album Future Nostalgia in fairly regular rotation. But also… 2022 wasn’t exactly a huge year for the Don’t Start Now singer.
True, she did release two singles, featuring on Calvin Harris’ Potion and collaborating with Megan Thee Stallion on Sweetest Pie, and while we’ve nothing against either of those songs, neither were especially big hits (peaking at 16 and 31, respectively, in the UK), so we can think of a few artists who might have been a more obvious fit for the Best Pop category this year.
SURPRISE: Becky Hill
Best Dance Act
Like Dua, Becky Hill hasn’t released a new album since her Brits win last year, so we were surprised to see her back in 2023.
Again, she has featured on a few tunes in the past 12 months, though, including the Galantis cut Run, the Joel Corry collab History and Crazy What Love Can Do, featuring David Guetta and Ella Henderson.
Best Pop/R&B Act
As recently as 2020, Mabel picked up her first ever Brit in the now-defunct Best British Female category, and after releasing her second full-length album in 2022, we thought she might have at least made it into the specific pop/R&B category, if not the main one one for Best British Artist.
About Last Night, Mabel’s second album, peaked at number two upon its release last year, held off the top spot by Harry Styles, who she previously supported on his 2018 tour.
SNUB: The Weeknd
International Act Of The Year
Considering The Weeknd was the recipient of the last ever International Male Solo Artist prize at the Brits in 2021, we thought he’d be a shoo-in at this year’s show, particularly as he’s set to headline at stadiums around the UK later this year, off the back of his huge Dawn FM album.
All we can say is that it was a seriously tight category this year. With names like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar all releasing albums in 2022, and only five slots to fill, The Weeknd was unlucky this time around.
SURPRISE: Sam Ryder
Best New Artist
Alright, we have to stress that when we say “surprise” we mean “a very pleasant surprise”.
Sam Ryder spent a lot of the lead-up to last year’s Eurovision Song Contest telling people how his main aim was to help destroy the stigma around the event here in the UK, particularly after a run of not-exactly-stellar performances when it came to the leaderboard.
Not only did Sam give us our best Eurovision result in decades, he also went on to be embraced by the British public, achieving chart success, performing for Queen Elizabeth II during her jubilee celebrations and taking over BBC One for their New Year’s Eve coverage.
To see him starting 2023 with a Brit nomination to his name fills us with so much joy.
SURPRISE: We Don’t Talk About Bruno
Best International Single
Again, a very pleasant surprise, but a surprise all the same. Even though the Encanto break-out tune was a massive chart hit in 2022 (becoming the first ever Disney song to top the UK singles chart), we weren’t sure whether the Brits would deem it eligible, and might make up some rule to keep it from being nominated.
So it did put a smile on our face to see it in the running against bops like Beyoncé’s Break My Soul, Lizzo’s About Damn Time and Jack Harlow’s First Class.
SURPRISE: Merry Christmas
Best British Single
This one does make sense too, as it was a number one at the end of 2021, and climbed its way back up the charts around the festive season last year. But let’s just say, we didn’t have the Elton John and Ed Sheeran duet on our “Best British Single” bingo card.
Could you imagine if it actually did actually end up winning?
This year’s Brit Awards will air on ITV live from London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 11 February.