Entertainment & Arts

Mercury Prize winner due to be announced

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Media captionAlt-J discuss their nomination for the Mercury Prize

The winner of this year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London later.

Indie rock band Alt-J have emerged as the bookmakers' favourites to win the £20,000 cash award for their debut album An Awesome Wave.

Yet William Hill have reported a late surge of betting for troubadour Richard Hawley and soul singer Jessie Ware.

PJ Harvey became the first act to win twice when her album Let England Shake received last year's award.

Alt-J are quoted at 6/5, having attracted just over 60% of the total bets since the shortlist was announced.

Rival bookmakers Paddy Power are offering even odds on the alternative four-piece, who released their album in May.

This year's list includes rapper Plan B, The Maccabees and BBC Sound Of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka.

Speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Plan B - real name Ben Drew - said he hoped to replicate the success of 2003 Mercury prize-winner Dizzee Rascal.

Image caption Londoner Jessie Ware is nominated for this year's prize for her album Devotion.

"Think about what winning this prize did for Dizzee Rascal," he said. "Not just Dizzee Rascal, but grime music and UK urban music [in general].

"As soon as Dizzee Rascal won, a lot of record labels went out and started signing up artists, so it is pretty prestigious and it is important."

Rounding out the shortlist are Lianne La Havas, Roller Trio, Field Music, Sam Lee, Ben Howard and Django Django, who recently won Q magazine's best new act award.

The Mercury event will be held at the Roundhouse in north London and be hosted by 6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne for the first time.

All 12 nominees will perform live, with coverage broadcast on 4Music and the winner announced on Channel 4 at 2200 GMT.

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