Ed Sheeran and rising star Dua Lipa set to shine at Brit Awards


London - Folk-pop hit machine Ed Sheeran will go head-to-head with rising pop star Dua Lipa at the Brit Awards in London on Wednesday, the country's showpiece pop-music ceremony.

The ceremony at the cavernous O2 Arena is expected to have a political edge, with many stars due to wear small white roses to highlight sexual harassment in the industry, and to show solidarity with its victims.

South Africans can watch the awards on BBC Brit (120) on Wednesday, 21 February live from London starting at 21:30.

Ed's album Divide, a global chart-topper, is on the shortlist for the British Album of the Year category, along with Dua Lipa, grime artist Stormzy, singer Rag'n'Bone Man and hip-hop artist J Hus.

In the British Male Solo Artist category, the Shape of You singer is also up against Stormzy and Rag'n'Bone Man as well as former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher as well as hip-hop singer Loyle Carner.

The 27-year-old is also running against Dua Lipa for the best video award. Ed is up for Shape of You and Dua is up for New Rules

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR SHAPE OF YOU HERE:


WATCH THE VIDEO FOR NEW RULES HERE:

Singer-guitarist Sheeran, 27, has already been honoured in 2018, winning the Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Album ahead of Lady Gaga and Coldplay, and Best Pop Solo Performance for single Shape of You.

His latest album Divide has smashed many records, including on streaming App Spotify, where it received 57 million listens on the day of its release.

Dua Lipa, 22, is the latest artist to break through on YouTube, and her single New Ruleshas surpassed one billion views on the video-sharing platform.

She is nominated in five categories, including British Female Solo artist, along with Paloma Faith, who won the award in 2015, Kate Tempest, Jessie Ware and Laura Marling.

Other categories include British Group, where the nominees are Gorillaz, London Grammar, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice and The xx and International Group, which will be fought out between the Foo Fighters, Haim, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire.

Budding soul sensation Sampha, who won the coveted Mercury Prize in 2017, is nominated alongside Dua Lipa, J Hus, Loyle Carner and Dave in the Breakthrough category.

Taylor Swift, Lorde, Bjork, Pink and Alicia Keys have all received nominations for the International Female Solo Artist award, with Childish Gambino, Beck, DJ Khaled, Drake and Kendrick Lamar all in the running for the male equivalent.

The Brit Awards have recognised the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977, but often attract controversy.

Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker invaded a performance by Michael Jackson in 1996 and then-deputy prime minister John Prescott was doused by a bucket of ice water in 1998.

This year's nominations have attracted criticism from the Daily Telegraph, which lamented the triumph of the "popular over the interesting, the successful over the plucky, and the beige over the bold.