The nominees for the Mercury Music Prize for best British or Irish album of the year were announced yesterday evening, but there was disappointment on our shores when it emerged that no Irish albums made the 12- strong shortlist.
This year's list doesn't feature any clear favourite, as has been the case in the past when the likes of Adele and The Arctic Monkeys seemed destined to win, however bookmakers have suggested that Django Django's self-titled debut and Alt-J's An Awesome Wave are the early frontrunners and it'll be a surprise if either of them aren't named as the winner at the award ceremony on November 1st. Plan B's Ill Manors charted highest among the nominees, but traditionally the Mercury Prize tends to have a preference for artists who've yet to achieve mainstream success.
Mercury Prize chairman Simon Firth has said that this year's list of nominees was the most open and diverse in the history of the award. "I suppose there was nothing that seemed to be an absolute must", he said to the Telegraph. "The field became much more wide open".
The list of nominees has already come in for criticism from some corners for a lack of representation of different music styles. The singer/songwriter genre is well represented, with Lianne La Havas, Michael Kiwanuka, Ben Howard and Sam Lee making up one-third of the nominations, but there are no real electronic, pop or rock records among the 12. Was 2012 really devoid of any outstanding albums from those genres?
This year's list can be defined as much by what it's missing as by what has been included. All of the albums nominated are worthy in their own right, but collectively the list is lacking a certain sense of adventure that could have been provided had the likes of Kate Bush, Micachu & The Shapes or even Hot Chip been included.
The Mercury Prize judging panel have been known to throw the occasional curveball, such as in 2009 when Speech Debelle beat Florence and the Machine, Kasabian and Bat For Lashes to the gong but we think that this year's winner will be a lot easier to predict.
Who will win: Alt-J
Who should win: Alt-J
Dark Horse: Jessie Ware
This year's token folk nominee who doesn't stand a chance: Sam Lee
This year's nominees for the Mercury Music Prize are:
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave - 13/8
Django Django - Django Django - 4/1
Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge - 11/2
Jessie Ware - Devotion - 6/1
Ben Howard - Every Kingdom - 14/1
Field Music - Plumb - 14/1
Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again - 14/1
The Maccabees - Given To The Wild - 16/1
Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough - 16/1
Plan B - Ill Manors - 16/1
Roller Trio - Roller Trio - 25/1
Sam Lee - Ground of Its Own - 25/1
Odd provided by Paddy Power.