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The feisty jazz singer, pictured during Tuesday's gig at the Eden Project in Cornwall, is hotly tipped to take home the trophy
Photo: © Getty Images
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She faces stiff competition, however, from indie rockers The Arctic Monkeys, fronted by lead singer Alex Turner
Photo: © Getty Images

Mercury nod for Amy Winehouse and The Arctic Monkeys

18 JULY 2007

The countdown to Britain's most coveted annual album award began this week after the nominations for the Nationwide Mercury Prize were announced. And two front runners have emerged among the hopefuls on the shortlist for the £20,000 trophy, with both jazz chanteuse Amy Winehouse and indie rockers The Artic Monkeys tipped as joint favourites.

Nominated for their album Favourite Worst Nightmare, the Sheffield rockers are will make Mercury history if they are announced as winners during the star-studded September 4 ceremony. They would be the first band to pick up the gong for two consecutive years, after their debut album won in 2006.

They face stiff competition from 23-year-old Amy, however, whose album Back To Black has received rave reviews and secured her an army of fans. And there are other heavyweights in the running, including rap star Dizzie Rascal, who took home the trophy four years ago.

Mercury judges have a reputation for surprising the public with their choices, though, so any of the 12 nominated acts could triumph on the day. Among them are Scottish rockers The View, Oxford three-piece The Young Knives and dance punk outfit The Klaxons. Some of the lesser known nominees meanwhile are Irish songwriter Fionn Regan, jazz group Basquiat Strings and electronica newcomer Maps.

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