Above average: Mercury Prize winners on critic’s scores alone

Later on this evening, we'll discovery who follows last year's winners The XX and takes home the Mercury Music Prize, but what if their festival performances counted towards who triumphed?

We’ve looked back through our festival reviews so far this year to see who comes out on top. So, Judges – if you’re having trouble deciding, why not give this a look?

Gwilym Simcock – ‘Good Days at Schloss Elmau’ 
Number of festivals this summer: None
Average score: Not reviewed
Blistering set on the Lock-Up Stage this year…just kidding. Not a big festival-goer then, Gwil? Oh well.

Adele – ‘21’ 
Number of festivals this summer: One
Average score: Not reviewed
I think I would have a heart attack if I did a festival. The thought of that many people coming to see me or nobody coming to see me would make me shit myself.” – Adele. Well, she did do the iTunes Festival this year, but with her second album’s mega-sales, the huge cheque that the likes of V will almost certainly wave in front of her should change her mind for 2012.

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – ‘Diamond Mine’ 
Number of festivals this summer: One (Bestival this weekend)
Average score: Not reviewed
According to our earlier Mercury piece, King Creosote’s “first Mercury nomination comes after collaborating with respected London electronica figure Jon Hopkins. This record reportedly took seven years to complete so don’t expect the follow up anytime soon.” It’s a beautiful record, so surely they would have garnered some excellent scores with a few more festival slots? As it is, we’ll have to wait ‘til the weekend to see how they perform it live. 

James Blake – ‘James Blake’ 
Number of festivals this summer: 16
Average score: 6.6
Much-hyped at the start of the year, some of Blake’s performances have been masterclasses in how to make a song build, captivating with “lush minimalism” at Eurosonic and turning O2 Academy into a “chapel-like setting” at Live At Leeds. He “mesmerised” post-Pulp as the sun went down on Glastonbury’s Park Stage, but gremlins and lack of showmanship cost him dear at Field Day and it probably wasn’t a good idea to say Green Man (which takes place in Wales) “couldn’t feel any more English.” Oops…

Ghostpoet – ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’ 
Number of festivals this summer: 13
Average score: 7
The rapper’s minimal, hushed delivery has drawn people in, playing to a full house at The Great Escape, the biggest cheer reserved for ‘Survive It’. As he said to us, “I think if you get the album, that’s one experience. When you pay to go and see something, it should be another experience.” No doubt his nightbus-hop will get an even bigger audience at Bestival at the weekend.

Katy B – ‘On A Mission’ 
Number of festivals this summer: 26
Average live score: 7
“I guess my mission is to make underground, overground.” said VF One To Watch Katy B when we spoke to her, and it looks like it’s mission accomplished. Dubstep’s first lady has a hit album, a raft of rammed festival appearances, and of course, a Mercury nomination. A superb set at Radio 1’s Big Weekend was followed by her turning Beach Break Live’s Main Stage into a “crowded, outdoor club”, the atmosphere may have got rained off during her Lovebox set, but she can look back on a good summer’s work.

Anna Calvi – ‘Anna Calvi’ 
Number of festivals this summer: 22
Average Score: 8
Two words: stage presence. At Lowlands, she was “a beautiful and fiercely mesmerising artist, snarling in red and black.” At Field Day, she was “both matriarchal and mysterious”, while at Les Rockeenes de Belfort, she was described as nothing less than the “little “chérie” of the festival.” A very good album becomes a jaw-dropper live.

Metronomy – ‘The English Riviera’ 
Number of festivals this summer: 14
Average Score: 8
The year our festival favourites met the mainstream, hitting the Pyramid Stage at Glasto and stepping “onto the main stage with ease” at Wireless. It’s all down to Joe Mount’s “abundantly captivating wailings”, or at least that’s how our Les Eurockeennes reviewer put it.

Tinie Tempah – ‘Disc-Overy’
Number of festivals this summer: 22
Average score: 8.1
Tinie was everywhere this summer, celebrating the success of last year’s debut and its monumental singles. And we all too ready to celebrate with him, as Evoloution became “an ocean of writhing bodies…‘Pass Out’ proves to be the anthem of the weekend.” He played a blinder at his festival headline slot at Beach Break Live – “unlikely to be his last”, we said –  and though we also caught him battling against lethargic crowds at Hop Farm, we left him enjoying a well-earned shot or two onstage at V.

Everything Everything – ‘Man Alive’
Number of festivals this summer: 16
Average score: 8.25
One of VF’s Ones To Watch for 2011, the Manchester band haven’t let us down. Daniel Lomas found ‘Photoshop Handsome’ “particularly impressive live” at Hurricane in Germany, while we saw their inclusion at Lounge On The Farm as evidence of a “broader spectrum of entertainment” at this year’s festival, before seeing them “whirl through brilliant, idiosyncratic sing-alongs” at Summer Sundae.

And the winners are…

Elbow – ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’
Number of festivals this summer: 14
Average score: 9
Winners for their last album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, Guy Garvey and Co. are masters of the communal singalong, making anywhere seem intimate. This hasn’t changed with all the new songs they’ve played, with Laura Foster praising a flawless sunset performance on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, while at Lowlands they were “touching and infectious…a force to be reckoned with.”  Having watched their Reading set, Chris Swindells proclaimed them to be “the greatest band in the world when it comes to warming our hearts and snuggling our souls.”

PJ Harvey – ‘Let England Shake’
Number of festivals this summer: 8
Average score: 9
Roaring favourite and another previous winner, PJ Harvey changed her sound for ‘Let England Shake’, and made herself even more compulsive viewing and listening in the process. How’s this for an entrance at Roskilde: “She literally saunters onstage almost unnoticed in a white-patched, ankle-length dress. She lets out a bellowing battle cry, while ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ and ‘All And Everyone’ shimmer in all their glory with an echoing autoharp sprinkling its magic throughout.”