British rockers The xx have put aside their differences with ex-bandmate Baria Qureshi and invited her to join them at the upcoming Mercury Prize ceremony. The group's self-titled debut "xx" will go up against releases by the likes of rock veteran Paul Weller, rapper Dizzee Rascal and soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae after making the shortlist of 12 albums under consideration for the U.K.'s most prestigious music trophy.
The xx's Oliver Sim admits he was in shock when he learned his band was among the nominees on Tuesday, July 20 and he still can't get his head around the news. He tells NME.com, "It's absolutely insane considering all the other artists (nominated), like Paul Weller. It's really mindblowing."
And Sim is adamant keyboard player Qureshi has a right to attend the London ceremony in September - because she played a big part in creating the band's sound before quitting the group in November 2009 due to "personal differences".
He says, "She has a place here, definitely. She's part of the album." Bookmakers have tipped Rascal and The xx as the early joint favorites to win the 2010 Mercury Music Award.