Picks and Pans Review: Britain's Star-Making School

UPDATED 04/28/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/28/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

Forget American Idol. Opened in 1991, the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in London has become the place to find hot music talent. Here are the alumni you've already heard from—or will soon.

LEONA LEWIS, 23 Attended: 1997-2001 Claim to fame: After winning Britain's The X Factor in 2006, the pop siren released the fastest-selling debut in U.K. history, Spirit.

ADELE, 19 Attended: 2002-2006 Claim to fame: Won the Critics' Choice prize at the Brit Awards in 2007. Her debut, 19, hits the U.S. this summer.

MARSHA AMBROSIUS, 30 Attended: Mid-'90s Claim to fame: One half of the Grammy-nominated R&B duo Floetry ("Say Yes"), she is currently working on her debut solo album with producer Dr. Dre.

KATE NASH, 20 Attended: 2003-2005 Claim to fame: A MySpace sensation, she's won Lily Allen comparisons for her CD Made of Bricks.

KATIE MELUA, 23 Attended: 2001-2003 Claim to fame: Jazzy popster was the best-selling female artist in both the U.K. and Europe in 2006. Her latest is Pictures.

AMY WINEHOUSE, 24 Attended: 2000 Claim to fame: Among other things, scored five Grammys and double-platinum sales for Back to Black.

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