The lineup: Pixie Lott (vocals, songs).
The background: What's the collective noun for a group of teenage girls? A murder? No, that's crows. A gaggle? A nightmare?! Anyway, there are four or five school-age females currently waiting in the wings, some of whom you read about here first. There's Alex Roots with her quirky brand of new wave-revisited pop, LA's new Lady GaGa Sky Ferreira, the punky, bratty "Essex Avril Lavigne" Daisy Dares You, and Coco Sumner whose effervescent ska-tinged pop is a chip off her dad Sting's white reggae block. Now there's Pixie Lott, who peddles a blend of sophisticated ballads and R&B-tinged dance tunes that should see her pegged as the UK's answer to Rihanna or a young Mariah.
When did all this start, this trend for big-voiced belters who could Do Soul as well as the Americans? Probably with Joss Stone, although her lack of success recently indicates the market for such young homegrown female artists might not be as solid as they, the controlling powers who decide on our entertainment, once assumed. Then again, Pixie Lott, who at 18 is positively ancient compared to her peers, blows Stone – and all the X Factor dummies - out of the water by dint of the fact that she writes her own material, which immediately puts her in the more credible Duffy/Amy category, although there is little on her album sampler to suggest a similar fixation with 60s girl-group pop, Dusty-style white soul or Motown.
She's more Duffy than Amy, though, not in terms of technique but in terms of torment and behind-the-scenes Dark Stuff. When she was 14 she won a scholarship to the Italia Conti stage school and the only time she ever came up against the demonic forces of rock'n'roll was when she did a recording session with Roger Waters, who once dropped acid (not during the recording session, we hasten to add). An ad in the Stage led to a trip to New York, where she began writing and recording demos and auditioned for New Jack Swing god and pioneer of modern R&B, LA Reid. There was a record label bidding war, she signed a deal, and now she's got an album ready of music written with and produced by such luminaries as Phil Thornalley, Lily and Beck collaborator Greg Kurstin, and Cutfather and Jonas Jeburg, who have worked with Kylie, the Pussycat Dolls and Lady GaGa.
As rags-to-riches sagas go, it lacks a certain dramatic puissance. But the music is as hi-tech and slick as you'd expect, from debut single – and her One Retro Moment – Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh), to Cry Me Out, an Alicia-worthy torch song that showcases Lott's vocal pyrotechnics and manages, in one impressive line ("I got your emails, you just don't get females"), to say more about teenage sexual politics than a whole series of Skins. That augurs well for further down the line and points towards a more playful, idiosyncratic future. Meanwhile, what? We've produced an R&B artist who can hold her own with the Americans. We're not sure what that particular triumph means, but it's a victory for her and her record company.
The buzz: "One of the best and most naturally gifted female singers this country has produced in years."
The truth: She's a talented girl and no mistake, but it probably won't be until she goes into freefall after years of fame and Does A Mariah that she'll make a particularly exciting pop star.
Most likely to: Be really successful.
Least likely to: Be remotely interesting.
What to buy: Debut single Mama Do is released by Mercury on 11 May, followed by the album Turn It Up in the autumn.
File next to: Joss Stone, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Alicia Keys.