Dua Lipa leads the Brits nominations

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Image caption Dua Lipa was one of the biggest breakout stars of 2017

Dua Lipa leads the charge at this year’s Brit Awards with five nominations, including best album.

The singer, whose hit single New Rules was one of the breakout hits of last year, is also up for best female, best video, best single and British breakthrough artist.

She narrowly beat Ed Sheeran’s four nominations, while J Hus and Rag’n’Bone Man have three apiece.

They are all up for best British album, as is Stormzy’s Gang Signs and Prayer.

The fan-voted best video category sees a fight between three former members of One Direction.

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Harry Styles’ Sign of the Times will go up against Zayn and Taylor Swift’s I Don’t Wanna Live Forever and Liam Payne’s Strip That Down.

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Image caption Liam Payne’s Strip That Down has been the most successful solo single by a former One Direction member

“That’s fantastic,” Payne told BBC News.

“The fact that we’ve just come out of our band and everyone’s already up for these things, it’s fantastic.

“I’m not going to put a bet on myself,” he added.

“There was some fantastic music out last year. I’m just happy to be part of that.”

The star also revealed the last time he had been to the Brits, he and his partner Cheryl Tweedy “were still in hiding with our relationship”.

“We snuck out of the Brits together, and we bumped into every single newspaper person we could possibly bump into – which I thought was really hilarious!”

Dua’s domination

Dua Lipa, 22, was raised in the UK but at the age of 13 she moved with her parents to their former home of Kosovo.

Two years later, she returned to London alone to pursue music, while scraping a living in bars and pubs.

After a series of increasingly popular singles, she found success with last summer’s female empowerment anthem New Rules, in which the star writes a four-step plan for avoiding her ex.

She ended the year as the UK’s most-streamed female artist on Spotify, while her eye-catching New Rules video has been watched more than 892 million times on YouTube.

Her competition in the best female category comes from Jessie Ware, Kate Tempest and former winners Laura Marling and Paloma Faith.

It is Faith’s fifth nomination, much to the star’s astonishment.

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Image caption Paloma Faith performed at the nominations show

“I keep pinching myself because I feel like it’s a very fickle industry,” she said.

“There’s so many people over the years that I’ve been on this particular carpet with that I don’t see any more.”

Other returning nominees include Gorillaz and Wolf Alice, up for best British group, while Liam Gallagher gets his first nomination as a solo artist in the best British male category.

‘It’s just crazy’

East London MC J Hus picked up three nominations for his debut album Common Sense, a border-hopping brew of the music that inspired him – from G-funk to bashment via afrobeat, UK garage and R&B.

“Three nominations. I at least have to take home one,” the 21-year-old said.

Last year’s Brit Awards were hailed for the diversity of their nominees – but in the end, no black British artists took home an award.

J Hus, whose real name is Momodou Jallow, said he hoped the situation would be corrected in 2018.

He said: “100% we can turn it around this year. But even if I don’t take anything away, I’m happy to be amongst so many big artists. It’s just crazy.”

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Image caption J Hus said he was “honoured” to be nominated

The nominations were revealed in a live programme on ITV1, featuring performances from Paloma Faith, J Hus, Liam Payne and Clean Bandit.

Soul singer Jorja Smith also performed her new single Let Me Down alongside best British male nominee Stormzy.

Walsall-born Smith, who featured on Drake’s More Life mixtape last year, was also presented with the Brits Critics’ Choice Award, which singles out an artist to watch in the coming year.

The prize, which has previously gone to the likes of Adele and Florence and the Machine, is one of two awards to be announced in advance.

The other – best producer – has gone to Little Mix and Liam Payne collaborator Steve Mac.

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Image caption This year’s winners will receive a specially designed statue by Anish Kapoor

One notable absence from this year’s shortlist was Sam Smith. His album, The Thrill Of It All, was the third biggest seller of 2017 but received no nominations.

However, its November release date means it will be eligible again next year – and Smith will perform at this year’ ceremony, at London’s O2 Arena on 21 February, along with Rag’n’Bone Man, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran.

Despite Dua’s domination of the shortlist, it seems probable that Sheeran’s massive commercial success will be recognised on the night.

As well as being the favourite for best album and best male, he is likely to receive the Global Success award, which recognises the artist who makes the most impact overseas.

Comedian and actor Jack Whitehall will host the ceremony for the first time.

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