Well there you have it - Two Door Cinema Club. Hand on heart did not see that coming, but such is the joy of the Choice Music Prize (previous winners include Super Extra Bonus Party, Jape and Adrian Crowley)
On Tourist History, the Bangor trio laid out their cards plain for all to see: accessible, danceable, infectious indie pop. What they do, they do very well. It is simplistic pop music at its very best - and it would certainly sound a lot more fresh had the tracks not polluted television ads for the last ten months or so. Taking the album as simply that though, it is very strong. Every one of the songs has the potential to be a single, and each of the singles has been a hit thus far ('Something Good Can Work', for example, reached number 18 in the charts upon its re-release, while the album itself went gold)
As for the losers, each can feel as aggrieved as the rest. The final ten this year was exceptionally strong - Villagers, James Vincent McMorrow, Adebisi Shank, the Cast of Cheers, Halves, Imelda May, O Emperor, Cathy Davey and Fight Like Apes making up the remainder.
In reality, Imelda May's failure to attend (due to touring commitments) rendered her nomination null and void, while Fight Like Apes' pretty poor second album had no place on the final list. Halves have done well from the exposure, but it was always unlikely for them, while you could argue that Villagers struggled due to the excessive saturation of the debut record: the Mercury nomination led to mass press and a heavy favourite tag.
Cathy Davey has been robbed in the past, though the judges opted not to right a wrong on this occasion, while O Emperor justified the early hype in their career with a solid, yet unspectacular album.
That leaves the trio of Adebisi Shank, James Vincent McMorrow and the Cast of Cheers. They were among the finest performers on the night (JVM, in particular, can walk away knowing his ever-growing legion of fans is burgeoning even further) and each had their champions in the run-up. Personally, I would have loved to have seen McMorrow win, while both the Cast of Cheers and Adebisi Shank would have felt right with their name on the trophy too.
Congratulations, though, to Two Door Cinema Club. The trio opted to donate the €10,000 prize fund to a Bangor based charity involved in housing projects in Africa - another feather to add to their cap.
Spare a thought not for the losers on the night, however (they will all benefit from the exposure simply by making it to the final ten), but for those who didn't make the cut: Not Squares, RSAG, Solar Bears, Ham Sandwich, Somadrone, the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra... There are dozens more alike who would have walked away with the prize in previous years, yet failed to make the cut this time around. It is a true testament to the classic year in Irish music that was 2010 - and let that be the final word on it, on this blog at least.