The nominees for the 2011 Mercury Prize -- one of the UK and the record industry's most prestigious music prizes -- have been announced, and they include one of the biggest names in the business right now.
The enormously talented Adele, whose '21' is the top-selling album of the year thus far, leads the pack of nominees. The young singer/songwriter was also nominated for the prize in 2009, though she lost out to Elbow's "The Seldom Seen Kid."
Last year's prize went to rock act, the XX, and helped boost their album and tour sales.
Two other acts return to the fold this year after winning previous years' awards. Elbow picked up a nomination for "Let's Build a Rocket Boys!" and PJ Harvey scored one for "Let England Shake." Harvey previously won the prize back in 2001 for her "Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea" album.
Less internationally known British acts also received nominations, including Tinie Tempah, for his "Disco-Overy," rapper Ghostpoet, Everything Everything, chamber rock act Anna Calvi, Katy B, and producer and music blog hero, James Blake, whose self-titled album evoked the best of dubstep and indie R&B.
Jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock, electronic act Metronomy, and a folk/rock collaboration between King Creosote and Jon Hopkins also made the cut.
In past years, The Mercury Prize has rewarded acts who are teetering on international mainstream, and has favored the underdogs. However, it might be hard for judges to ignore current superstar Adele, as her album has enthralled both fans and critics, alike. Consider her the "Avatar" of the Mercury Prize this year.
In 2007, Amy Winehouse, fresh off another barrage of drug allegations and canceled tour dates, lost the prize to Klaxons, despite Winehouse's enormous popularity and critical success. In 2002, young and lesser known rap act Ms Dynamite beat out both David Bowie and The Streets to take home the coveted prize.
The nominees are selected by a panel of musicians, journalists, industry executives, and other prominent figures in the UK and Ireland.