Brit Awards host Mo Gilligan has said he sees where Sam Smith is "coming from", after the singer expressed their frustration over the event announcing an all-male best artist category.

The annual ceremony scrapped its male and female categories in 2021 but attracted criticism this year after it emerged that one of its biggest categories, Artist of the Year, featured no women - despite an uptick in female artists or all-women groups across the board.

Sam Smith

Following the announcement, Smith, who is non-binary and spoke out in favour of genderless categories before the change, said it showed there is "still a long way to go".

Gilligan, 34, who is hosting the event for a second year, told The Times: "I see where Sam's coming from.

"People always want to be represented in music, whatever faith they're from or gender they are.

Mo Gilligan

"But it's really about me hosting it rather than my opinions. If I got into opinions on music, it'd be so vast.

"It's really good that people are using their platform to speak up about it.

"Some people might not want to do that because it might affect them winning."

Responding to the issue that Smith had previously been unable to compete in either the male or female categories, he added: "Yeah. What I do like is that music always sparks these good conversations."

Harry Styles and Wet Leg lead the nominations at this year's Brits, with four nominations each.

Stormzy follows with three nods for album of the year, artist of the year and hip hop grime rap act.

Fontaines D.C.

Irish five-piece Fontaines D.C. are nominated for Best International Act.

The Brit Awards 2023 will take place on Saturday, 11 February, and will be broadcast live on ITV1 and ITVX from The O2 arena in London.

Source: Press Association