KINGTON’S Ellie Goulding must have been well and truly “Starry Eyed” as she took to the red carpet with the likes of Lady GaGa and Dizzee Rascal at this year’s Brit Awards on Tuesday night.

The singer-songwriter was among the winners at the star-studded event at London’s Earl Court, collecting the Critics’ Choice award – which singles out the act that the critics are tipping to break through in 2010.

Ellie was presented with the award by Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, who was full of praise for the new star. “In the past this award has been given to some very talented young women – Adele, Florence and the Machine – and this year is no different,” she said as she introduced the former Lady Hawkins School pupil.

Chairman of the Brits Committee, Ged Doherty, was also optimistic for the singer’s future: “We are delighted that with the introduction of this award, we have been able to give a platform to brand new British artists in the past two years to reach a wider audience. We have no doubt that Ellie Goulding will follow in the successful footsteps of Adele and Florence and the Machine, we wish her all the best.”

Ellie herself described the experience as “mental” as she took to the stage to collect the award at the show presented by comedian Peter Kay.

“Well, this is mental. No matter how much you prepare yourself for something like this, it all goes out of the window.

“I just wanna say thank you so much to the critics who gave me this award,” she added.

The singer also thanked her manager, Jamie, and her label Polydor in her acceptance speech.

Updating her Twitter later, Ellie said: “Lady gaga held my hand and we talked and I think I died. :-(.“ Both artists are signed to labels owned by Universal Records, who held an oriental-themed afterparty.

Ellie’s second single Starry Eyed – which has received plenty of national airplay – is being released on Monday, February 22, and her eagerly-anticipated debut album, Lights, will be released next month.