Popjustice £20 Music Prize

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Five young women in bright leotards standing atop a sign reading "Girls Aloud"
Girls Aloud (pictured in 2013) have won the award five times, more than any other act.

The Popjustice £20 Music Prize, also known as the Popjustice Twenty Quid Prize,[1] is an annual prize awarded by music website Popjustice to recognise the best British pop single of the previous year. The prize was conceived by Popjustice founder Peter Robinson in 2003 as a reaction to what he perceived as the pompous and elitist nature of the existing Mercury Prize, which recognises the best album of the previous year, and in particular its exclusion of pop music acts in favour of those from more esoteric genres.[2] The shortlist for the Popjustice prize is announced in September of each year and the winner named the following month, to coincide with the presentation of the Mercury Prize.[3] Popjustice gives a token prize of £20 to the winner of its award, in contrast to the £20,000 given to the winner of the Mercury Prize.[2][3]

The winning entry is chosen by a panel of Popjustice readers, who apply for the position via the website. The judges meet in a pub to debate the merits of the songs shortlisted by Robinson and eliminate them, often based on bizarre or arbitrary criteria, until a winner is chosen.[4][5] In 2009 Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud attended the pub in person to collect the prize of a £20 note in a plastic container.[6]

The first prize was awarded to Girls Aloud in 2003 for their single "No Good Advice", and the act went on to win the award four more times over the next six years; no other act had won more than once until Little Mix's second win in 2015. Girls Aloud have also received the most nominations, with eight. The next highest number of nominations for an act is four, shared by two acts, The Saturdays and Rachel Stevens. Both acts have received four nominations and won the prize once; Stevens was also nominated once as a member of the group S Club. In 2015, the winning song was "Black Magic" by Little Mix, the 8th time the award had been won by a British girl group, and the 7th by either Girls Aloud or Little Mix.[7] The 2016 prize was won by ex One Direction singer ZAYN with his song Pillowtalk. Little Mix reclaimed the award in 2017. Rita Ora won in 2018 with her song Anywhere.


A young woman with brown hair, wearing a white T-shirt and denim shorts, singing into a microphone
Lauren Mayberry, lead vocalist of 2013 winners Chvrches
A man performing on stage, singing into a microphone and making a hand gesture in the air
Rapper Example was the first male winner of the award. Prior to his win in 2010, Girls Aloud had received the award five times and female soloists had won twice.
Head and shoulders view of a young woman with brown hair
Rachel Stevens has been nominated for the award four times as a solo artist and was also a member of the group S Club, who were nominated in 2003.
Four women performing on stage, singing into microphones
Little Mix have won the award on three occasions, and been nominated on three others
Year Song Performing artist(s) Nominees Ref
Winners of the Popjustice £20 Music Prize
2003 "No Good Advice" Girls Aloud [8]
2004 "Some Girls" Rachel Stevens [8]
2005 "Wake Me Up" Girls Aloud [8]
2006 "Biology" Girls Aloud [8]
2007 "Rehab" Amy Winehouse [8]
2008 "Call the Shots" Girls Aloud [8]
2009 "The Promise" Girls Aloud [8]
2010 "Kickstarts" Example [8]
2011 "Higher" The Saturdays [8]
2012 "Jealousy" Will Young [8]
2013 "The Mother We Share" Chvrches [8]
2014 "Move" Little Mix [8]
2015 "Black Magic" Little Mix [8]
2016 "Pillowtalk" Zayn [8]
2017 "Touch" Little Mix [8]
2018 "Anywhere" Rita Ora [8]

Most nominated artists[edit]

The following have received three or more nominations:

Artist Nominations Years
Artists nominated three or more times for the Popjustice £20 Music Prize
Girls Aloud 8 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013
Little Mix 6 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Calvin Harris 5 2007, 2008, 2009, 2017, 2018
The Saturdays 4 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
Rachel Stevens 4 2004 (two nominations), 2005, 2006
Olly Murs 4 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
Goldfrapp 3 2005, 2006, 2008
Mini Viva 3 2010 (three nominations)
Sugababes 3 2004, 2006, 2008
Will Young 3 2004, 2006, 2012
Robbie Williams 3 2005, 2007, 2013
One Direction 3 2012, 2013, 2014
Marina and the Diamonds 3 2010, 2012, 2015
Mark Ronson 3 2008, 2011, 2015
Clean Bandit 3 2016, 2017, 2018

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Corner, Lewis (30 October 2014). "Little Mix 'Move' wins popjustice 20 quid prize". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Peter (31 October 2012). "The Popjustice Twenty Quid Music prize: more exciting than the Mercury". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b Corner, Lewis (12 September 2013). "Girls Aloud, MKS, Little Mix, 1D for Popjustice 20 Quid Music Prize". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  4. ^ Savage, Mark (10 September 2008). "Girls Aloud win £20 single prize". BBC. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  5. ^ Fletcher, Alex (9 September 2009). "Girls Aloud win fifth Popjustice prize". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  6. ^ Savage, Mark (9 September 2009). "Girls Aloud star takes £20 prize". BBC. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  7. ^ Brad O'Mance. "Little Mix's 'Black Magic' has won the 2015 Twenty Quid Music Prize - Popjustice". Popjustice.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize". Popjustice. Retrieved 14 February 2014.

External links[edit]