Antony and the Johnsons Win Britain's Mercury Prize
Antony and the Johnsons, a little-known New York band, became the surprise winners of Britain's most prestigious music award, despite complaints about their American roots.
The cult group beat a shortlist of 12 acts, including hot favourites Coldplay and Kaiser Chiefs, to scoop the Nationwide Mercury Prize with their album "I Am A Bird Now".
Frontman Antony Hegarty, 34, was stunned when he heard the announcement at a glittering awards ceremony in London.
"They must have made a mistake. I'm completely overwhelmed, I think it's insane，" said the tall, shaggy-haired singer as he was presented with a 20，000 pound （30，000-euro, 37，000-dollar） cheque by musician Jools Holland.
Hegarty earned the right to enter the contest because he was born in Britain. The singer lived in Chichester, southern England, before moving to Holland and finally settling in the United States aged 12.
But a member of rival band Kaiser Chiefs complained about the singer's American background last month.
Drummer Nick Hodgeson said: "He's an American, really. It's a good album, but it's daft he's got in on a technicality."
The losing group made no comment as they exited the awards ceremony.
Despite living and jamming in New York, Hegarty sang in a British choir as a schoolboy and one of his musical heroes is Britain's Boy George, who sang on "I am a Bird Now".
As an adult, Hegarty's extraordinary voice has been likened to Nina Simone and gay magazine Attitude said his album was "the gayest thing ever recorded".