Aah... but because we don't give it to the obvious choice, giving it to the obvious choice is totally unexpected...
So, the TV Quick Mercury Prize has been awarded, as you might have expected (and, for that reason, probably didn't expect) to the Arctic Monkey's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Even as we speak, people in record shops will be applying "Mercury Prize winner" labels to the outside of the CD case, although the title of the album will mean nobody will be able to believe that.
They'd not even bothered to play the show, either. At their point in the shortlist, they'd just sat in the audience while a video so hagiographical it made The South Bank Show's appreciations look like a drunken ex screeching complaints in a closing-time market town square.
The award was justified, though, if only for the cutaway shot of bested Thom Yorke during the Monkey's accepatance speech - he looked like a man with hearing difficulties trying to makeout the football scores on a badly-tuned AM radio; as if he could tell what was going on, but couldn't get to grips with any of the details.
It was pretty much a standard Mercury award - although, as Jools Holland pointed out, this year they've dropped the word "music" from the title. Presumably that's so in future years they can include Teach Yourself German CDs and so on; we're putting a small outside wager on Bill Bryson winning in 2007 with his unabridged memoir talking book.
All the usual elements were in place - Jo Whiley enthusising over everything; Jools doing a little bit of mucking about before revealing the winner; the annual reminder of Talvin Singh's existence. It could have been a rerun of any of the last few year's awards. Apart from the slightly bizarre interview with Marcus Brigstocke halfway through - he's an affable chap, but his input into what was going to win was akin to the Booker coverage having a room full of Britain's literati and choosing to get Jamie Oliver for the key commentary role.
The saddest thing, though, was the Editors, who virtually had a neon sign "Not serious contenders - just fattening up the list" hanging over their heads.
Earlier: 2006 shortlist
2005 Mercury Music Prize
2004 Mercury Music Prize
2003 Prize in one line