Sam Smith, Ella Eyre and Chloe Howl have been nominated for the 2014 BRITs Critics' Choice award.

The winner, due to be announced on December 12, will follow in the footsteps of previous victors including Adele, Emeli Sande and last year's reigning champion, Tom Odell.

Sam is the hot favourite to win, having already scored two hits as a featured singer on tracks by Naughty Boy and Disclosure.

The 21-year-old star said: ''I have watched the BRITs religiously for many years growing up.

''The people who have won before are to this day some of my favourite artists and biggest inspirations.

''So to even be up for this award is completely overwhelming for me. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am!''

The award is voted on by leading experts including newspaper music editors, journalists from music websites, music and lifestyle magazines, and radio and TV bosses.

The prize is open to up-and-coming artists who are set to release their debut albums in 2014, and over 100 artists were considered.

Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J have all scooped the Critics' Choice award in the past.

The full BRIT Awards 2014 nominations will be announced in January and broadcast on ITV.