The 24th EMAs come to London on Sunday, the SSE Arena, Wembley will stage the awards. Despite visiting Edinburgh, Liverpool, Belfast, and Glasgow in previous years it’s only the second time the awards have been in the capital.
Of the 15 categories, 14 are to be voted for by the fans. Fans are encouraged to vote for Best New, Best Artist, Best Song, Best UK and Ireland Act, Best Pop act, amongst many other categories.
On the surface, giving the fans the power to decide who collects the accolades seems like a welcome change from other agenda-setting awards ceremonies that we see within the music industry and beyond.
The EMAs doesn’t have a 'best album' category which maybe tells its own story
The voting system allows the ‘Arianators’ ‘Beliebers' 'Katy-Cats' ‘Swifties’ to vote for their superstar and decide the destination of each award, but does this lead to the EMAs just rewarding the biggest fan base rather than the best talent?
Have a look at the previous winners of the EMA best UK and Ireland Act.
EMA best UK and Ireland Act
2016 Little Mix
2015 Little Mix
2014 One Direction
2013 One Direction
2012 One Direction
2010 Marina and the Diamonds
In comparison, the Mercury Music Prize is awarded for the best album in UK and Ireland, the shortlist is chosen by an independent panel of musicians, presenters, producers, journalists, and others and is renowned for shining a light on artists that wouldn’t get the exposure through mainstream awards shows.
Below are the past winners of the Mercury Music prize (best album in UK and Ireland)
Mercury Music Prize
2017 Sampha - Process
2016 Skepta - Konnichiwa
2015 Benjamin Clementine - At Least for Now
2014 Young Fathers - Dead
2013 James Blake - Overgrown
2012 alt-J - An awesome wave
2011 PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
2010 The xx - xx
The EMAs doesn’t have a 'best album' category which maybe tells its own story.
The past winners give a clear representation of what both awards stand for, this year’s nominations for the EMA best UK and Ireland Act include Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, Louis Tomlinson, Dua Lipa and Stormzy.
But maybe we are witnessing a change in landscape, after Skepta’s Mercury last year for Konnichiwa and with Stormzy a distinct possibility to take home the EMA for best UK and Ireland Act we could see the perceived underground Grime scene gatecrashing a commercial domination.
The EMAs could make a statement on Sunday, whilst Stormzy has undoubtedly brought Grime from the underground into the mainstream a win for 'Big Mike' might just burst the EMA Pop bubble, opening the door for artists without the following of a Justin Bieber or a Taylor Swift to finally be recognised by the MTV European Music Awards. Is talent finally being recognised over a fan base?