Her albums 19 and 21 have become worldwide sensations, with her second record placing in the British charts for 18 consecutive weeks.
But Adele was snubbed at the Barclaycard Mercury Prize ceremony, despite being hotly-tipped to take home the prestigious award.
Instead, singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, who had first won the award ten years ago, was announced the winner at the event at London’s Grosvenor House for her album Let England Shake.
And good on Mercury for recognising that PJ Harvey has been, and still is an important artist. Adele has a good voice…and everywhere you go, you hear her one, very popular song. But she’s just not anywhere near as talented, or as cool as Polly.
Mercury will display lack of integrity if they start handing out awards to every fad of the moment, and the awards will lose all credibility…because let’s face it, we don’t want Mercury to be as shit as the over-rated BRIT awards.
I first saw PJ Harvey at Glastonbury in 1993 when she’d just released her album, Dry. Which is a fantastic album. This was at a time when The Pixies graced us with their dynamical genius. Polly was obviously influenced by this, as was everyone, but she still retained her own style. And as the years have gone on, she just seems to be getting better and better.
This new bird, Adele, really can’t hold a candle to Polly. Yeah, she’s fun, goes on the right shows to be seen, but she has no musical class. And because she’s whored herself, like artists must do for record sales…she’ll never have the class of PJ Harvey.
PJH is all about the creation, all about the music, all about the expression.
Adele comes across as…all about the X-Factor.
So I’m glad she won fuck all. She needs to mean it…at least look like she means it. Rise above the Graham Norton Show…and instead of thinking about showbiz, start to think about the music.
After PJ Harvey picked up her award from fellow musician Jools Holland, she said, “Thanks for the recognition of my work on this album. It’s also really good to actually be here because, when I last won it, I was watching the Pentagon burning from my hotel. So much has happened since then. This album took me a long time to write. It was very important to me. I wanted to make something meaningful, not just for myself but for other people, and hopefully to make something that would last.”
Harvey, whose real name is Polly Jean Harvey, wore a full-length white dress that seemed to resemble a straight jacket, and teamed it with black shiny boots that matched her jet black hair which held a feathered head piece.
Earlier, on the red carpet, Adele had looked calm and confident about the prospect of taking home the award as she posed with her nominee trophy.
Wearing her usual black dress, tights and shoes combination, she also sported her trademark beehive to complete the look.
Meanwhile, fellow nominee Katy B opted for a more colourful outfit and wore a grey letter print dress with bright red heels, a pink bag and giant gold hoop earrings.
The BRIT School graduate had hoped that she would pick up the prize for her debut album, On A Mission.
But it’s not just each other that the girls had to compete against as 12 acts were announced as the nominees on July 19.
Other female competitors who turned up to stand their corner were Jezebel singer, Anna Calvi, who’s self-titled album won her a nomination.
Anna decided to blend in with the red carpet wearing a bright red shirt complete with gold studded shoulder pad detail and finished off the look with slicked back hair and red lipstick.
But it wasn’t just the ladies who favoured postbox red tonight, as male nominee Tine Tempah also chose to blend in with the furniture.
The 22-year-old Pass Out rapper looked suave in a red velvet blazer and black wayfarers, and looked happy to be chosen as a contender following the massive success of his debut album, Disc-Overy.
Other male nominees were not so brave though as British pianist, Gwilym Simcock played it safe in a dark grey suit and white pinstripe shirt. And to be honest…I’m not interested in listening to anything by a person called Gwilym.
The 30-year-old composer, who works in both jazz and classical music, was nominated for the award based on his album Good Days At Schloss Elmau.
The two men also also found themselves up against previous winners, Elbow.
The British rock band stood in unison as they arrived and were dressed rather differently ranging from dark jeans and blazers to a tweed waistcoat and ties.
The band won the Mercury Prize once before in 2008 for their fourth album, The Seldom Seen Kid, but tonight they hoped to scoop the prize for their March 2011 release, Build A Rocket Boys!
Another band who would like to take it home are Metronomy. The four-piece band were nominated for their third album, The English Riviera.
They were pitted against British indie band, Everything Everything who’s 2010 debut album, Man Alive, drew their nomination.
This left three nominations in the form of three solo artists to complete the list of 12 albums up for the prize.
Ghostpoet, also known as 28-year-old Obaro Ejimiwe, won acclaim for his unusually titled album, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam.
The singer performed his debut single, Cash and Carry Me Home in front of the anxious audience at the event, but it wasn’t enough for judges to pick his album as the winner.
Last but not least in the running to win the Mercury Prize was duo King Creosote & Jon Hopkins.
Their collaborative studio album entitled, Diamond Mine, was released in March to favourable reviews, but it wasn’t enough to win the boys the big award.
But for me, on the night, PJ Harvey stands head and shoulders above the rest…without even really trying.
by Wallace McTavish