Years & Years, George The Poet and James Bay have been shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award.

The three acts have been tipped for a musical breakthrough in the next 12 months, with the winner - who will follow in the footsteps of Sam Smith, Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Adele in taking the prize - being announced on December 4 before being presented with the accolade at the Brit Awards ceremony on February 25.

London trio Years & Years - comprised of Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy, Emre Turkmen - are stunned to have made the shortlist.

They said: ''We're so grateful to be making music and having this sort of recognition is crazy and ridiculous and nuts in a really good way.''

George The Poet - whose real name is George Mpanga - has already worked with 'Let It Be' singer Labrinth and 'La La La' hitmaker Naughty Boy, but was amazed he had been shortlisted for the prestigious prize.

The Cambridge-educated spoken word artist said: ''I feel privileged to have been shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award. I always dreamed of reaching people and this nomination shows me that I'm on track.''

The third nominee, singer-songwriter James Bay, also found it difficult to comprehend his nomination for the prize, despite having supported talents such as Tom Odell and John Newman in concert.

The 24-year-old emerging talent gushed: ''I still can't believe it. As much as I hoped, being nominated for the Brits Critics' Choice Award is not something I ever imagined would actually happen. What a huge honour,''

Last year saw 22-year-old Sam Smith scoop the gong from competitors Chlöe Howl and Ella Eyre, and has since gone on to top charts around the world with his debut album 'In The Lonely Hour'.