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Adele takes female solo prize at Brit Awards

The Associated Press, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 12:46pm (PST)

LONDON (AP) -- Soulful songstress Adele followed Grammy Awards triumph with a win at the U.K.'s Brit music awards Tuesday, taking the prize for best British female artist at an energetic ceremony in London.

Adele, who won six Grammys last week in Los Angeles for her sophomore album "21," beat an eclectic shortlist of female stars that also included Florence and the Machine, Jessie J, Laura Marling and Kate Bush.

"It's been an amazing year," Adele said as she received the statuette from petite pop star Kylie Minogue.

"I feel like a drag queen next to you," joked Adele, who wore a sleek black Burberry gown for the ceremony. She thanked her record company "for letting me be the kind of artist I want to be."

The 23-year-old singer lost out on the British single prize to boy band One Direction. Adele also is nominated for British album of the year.

Adele, who gave a show-stopping performance of "Someone Like You" at last year's Brits, is also due to perform for the first time in Britain since undergoing vocal cord surgery to fix a potentially career-threatening throat condition.

It has been an amazing year for the singer from north London, who based her chart-topping songs of heartbreak on a rocky relationship. The "21" album has sold more than 6 million copies in the United States alone.

Tousle-haired singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran lead the race for the awards, with four nominations including breakthrough act, best British album — for the curiously titled "+" — best single for "The A Team" and best British male solo act. The red-haired 21-year-old has been panned as bland by some critics, but has amassed legions of young fans through online releases and a relentless calendar of shows.

He's up against James Blake, James Morrison, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Professor Green in the solo act category.

Sheeran said before the Brits ceremony that he expected Adele to clean up at the awards.

"She will definitely walk away with best album," he said. "It is Adele's year."

Long derided as dull, the Brits have become a lively celebration of U.K. music and style. Tuesday's event — which kicked off with Coldplay performing "Charlie Brown" — brought out a host of stars to London's huge O2 arena, blending rock 'n' roll attitude and fashion finery.

Blur frontman Damon Albarn dressed down for the red carpet in jeans and a flat cap, and former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher wore a leather jacket. But others struck a snazzier note. Actor Ray Winstone arrived in a pinstriped three-piece suit, complete with watch chain.

Style standouts included pop princess Kylie Minogue, in a strapless sky blue dress; plump-lipped Internet sensation Lana Del Ray, wearing a floor-length red gown; and Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch, in a lacy peach dress by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.

Coldplay could win their fourth best British group trophy if they beat Elbow, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and Chase & Status.

Bruno Mars took the prize for international male solo artist. Nominees in the international female category are Beyonce, Bjork, Feist, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Britpop icons Blur are scheduled to receive a special prize for their contribution to music at the televised ceremony.

The four original members — Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree — are performing together for the first time since a series of concerts in 2009.

Gallagher — a member of Blur's Britpop nemesis Oasis — is expected to perform alongside Coldplay's Chris Martin during the show, hosted by actor James Corden.

Most of the awards are chosen by more than 1,000 musicians, critics and record industry figures, with several decided by public vote.

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Online: http://www.brits.co.uk

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless

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