The BRIT Awards have tried to explain the reason why no women are nominated for Artist of the Year at next month's ceremony.
Music fans have been furious since Radio 1 DJs Vick Hope and Jack Saunders announced each category for the upcoming awards show on The BRIT's social media channels on Thursday night, ahead of the big night taking place next month.
The lack of female acts in the running to take home Artist of the Year at The 02 Arena on February has sparked a heated debate on social media - with many questioning just why no women are nominated for the huge honour.
Harry Styles, rapper Central Cee, DJ Fred again, pop singers George Ezra and and Stormzy are all in with a chance of adding the Artist of the Year gong to their trophy cabinet in a few weeks time.
Just 17.6% of artists originally shortlisted last year for the award were women, and included Mabel, Florence and the Machine, Charli XCX, Becky Hill and Rina Sawayama - but none of the talented female stars made the final cut when the final nominations were announced on Thursday.
Amid furious fans questioning why the likes of Charli - real name Charlotte Emma Aitchison - or Florence Welch got snubbed, The BRIT Awards have issued a statement.
A spokesperson for the Academy told the Mirror: "While it’s disappointing there are no nominations in the Artist of the Year category, we also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high profile women artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.
"Last year’s introduction of new categories aimed at making the awards even more inclusive, recognising exceptional work rather than how artists identify. It saw women artists thrive, winning 10 of the 15 awards on the night and Adele being crowned inaugural Artist of the Year.
"We are pleased to see Wet Leg leading the nominations with four nods and FLO winning the Rising Star, and artists such as Nova Twins also included in this year’s shortlists, and while it’s disappointing there are no nominations in the Artist of the Year category, we also have to recognise that 2022 saw fewer high profile women artists in cycle with major releases as was the case in 2021.
They added: "These trends based around the release schedule are a feature of the music industry, but if, over time, a pattern emerges, then this puts the onus on the industry to deal with this important issue – and the BPI is already carrying out a major study to identify barriers that may inhibit more women becoming successful in music, so that there can be solutions that result in meaningful change."
Adele became the first star to win Artist of the Year at last year's BRIT Awards after organisers decided to scrap gender-specific honours .
The award was introduced in 2022 and combined the previous categories for British Female Solo Artist and British Male Solo Artist - as a result of the Academy's wish to eliminate the distinctions between male and female artists and replace it with new gender neutral honour.
But this year sees no women nominated - despite several chart-topping female singers being eligible to make the final cut.
"BRIT awards didn’t nominate Florence for ANYTHING… lol what a mess. Total mess," one music fan raged online on Thursday.
"NOT ONE FEMALE ARTIST BEING NOMINATED FOR ARTIST OF THE YEAR???? wtf is the brits anymore x, " fumed another.
A third added: "The fact that there isn’t a SINGLE female in this category when there have been PLENTY of amazing female artists releasing music the last year is shocking!"
The BRIT Awards will take place on February 11 and will broadcast live on ITV1 and ITVX - from The O2 arena.
Sam Smith, Kim Petra and Wet Leg are all confirmed to perform at the ceremony at The 02 Arena next month.
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