Germany held its 25th annual ECHO music awards in Berlin on Thursday night, which are essentially the German Grammys.
While it might not get the same international attention as its American counterpart, the ECHO awards do serve the world's third-largest music market. That's right: Germany is right up there behind the United States and Japan.
This year TV host veteran Barbara Schöneberger brought the awards to television sets across Deutschland to announce some very German decisions about what the best music is.
1. Schlager songstress beat out Adele – with Christmas album
International superstar Adele was up against four very German nominees in the battle for Album of the Year.
But it was the beloved Schlager songstress Helene Fischer, who already has an ECHO or more to her name, who was once again picked for having Album of the Year with her Christmas album, appropriately titled “Christmas”.
Fischer took home a total of four prizes in the end, including as well best “crossover” artist.
2. Ed Sheeran picked over Bowie
This one might be a bit of a head-scratcher considering the outpouring of sadness after Berlin's adopted son David Bowie died earlier this year, but somehow the ginger-haired singer-songwriter beat out Ziggy Stardust himself for the category of Best International Rock/Pop Male Artist.
Still, at least ECHO paid tribute to Bowie through its Hall of Fame Award and had the Chamber Choir of Europe do a rendition of Space Oddity.
3. German nationalism got mixed reactions
As German comedian Jan Böhmermann's recent viral video observed, Germans are typically “proud of not being proud” given their not too distant Nazi past, meaning things like flying the national flag can still be a bit touchy.
So when German-speaking Italian band Frei.Wild won for the category of Best National Rock/Alternative Group, it was not such a surprise that the group was met with mixed reactions. Frei.Wild has been supported by neo-Nazi groups and controversy over its perceived nationalistic lyrics got it stripped of its nomination in the same category in 2013 when other groups threatened to boycott the awards because of them.
This year, the band successfully won the title, receiving both boos and cheers as they took the stage.
“Today shows that honesty in the long-run is the best policy. Mistakes can be rectified and, specifically, understanding can come too late, but it certainly does come,” the band said. “We are what we are, and not what many people claim we are.
“This prize serves as a symbol of perseverance, staying power, and resistance to narrow-mindedness and exclusion.”
4. Belgian DJ Lost Frequencies won Hit Song of the Year
While the style may be a bit too mainstream for the best clubs of Berlin where the awards were held, Germans couldn't resist the catchy beats of Belgian DJ Felix Safran De Laet, aka Lost Frequencies.
5. The Best Video is some kind of noir clone film
Nearly-70-year-old rocker Udo Lindenberg won the Best Video award for his song “Durch die schweren Zeiten” (Through the hard times).
The video depicts the singer as some kind of noir character, strolling through hotel lobbies and jazz clubs, followed by apparent clones of himself.
6. James Bay beat The Weeknd for Best Newcomer
After Ed Sheeran, Germans once again showed their affinity for mellow, romantic, British singer-songwriter types by picking James Bay over Canada's The Weeknd among others.
Bay even teamed up with German singer Sarah Connor to perform a duo of his hit Let It Go.
7. The Weeknd stopped by and dropped some f-bombs
He may have lost to James Bay, but Canada's international it-boy dropped into Berlin to perform his song The Hills and there was no censoring, of course, of the many f-bombs dropped throughout the song – because why would there be? This is Germany, not the Puritanical United States.
But he wasn't the only non-German to show off his musical chops. Irish songbird Enya also showed up to perform the comparatively clean Echoes in Rain.