Peter Fox takes home three Echo Awards

Coldplay, Amy Winehouse also pick up nods

BERLIN -- German hip-hop newcomer Peter Fox was the big winner at the Echo Awards, collecting three awards at the O2 World Arena in front of 10,000 guests in Berlin.

He received the awards in the categories best national/international hip-hop/urban artist, national critics award and as a production team together with David Conen and Vincent von Schlippenbach. Amy Winehouse won two Echo awards, for the best international rock/pop artist and for her album "Back to Black" (Island/Universal), which was judged album of the year.

Other Echo winners were Coldplay as the best international rock/pop group, AC/DC for best rock/alternative/heavy metal international and Amy Macdonald, who was named best international newcomer. Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" (Atlantic/Warner) was voted hit of the year. Amy Winehouse and Kid Rock were not there to receive the awards in person.

Further German groups to win an Echo were, among others, Udo Lindenberg (national rock/pop artist) Ich + Ich (national rock/pop Group), Die Arzte (national rock/alternative/heavy metal Group), Thomas Godoj (best newcomer) and Rosenstolz (best video). Amy Winehouse and Kid Rock were not there to receive the awards in person.

Lionel Richie received a special award, in recognition of his achievements and for 50 years of the Motown label, and expressed his thanks on the label's behalf with a live performance, which included Swiss newcomer Stefanie Heinzmann on a duet.

In the retail category, the awards jury picked out Saturn am Hansaring in Cologne, a member of the record-shop-chair. The media partner of the year was the TV station RTL II for the show "The Dome."

The award for special services to music went to the Bear Family, a record company from Bremen for designing packaging for back catalogs in a particularly imaginative and creative way.

Overall, the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, an institution in the German recording industry, awarded the Echo in 27 categories. The show, which was broadcast live by ARD for the first time, lasted three hours and was seen by 3.07 million viewers. Last year 4.35 million had watched it on RTL, which shortened the show and broadcast it with a two-hour delay.

The audience applauded the live performances by U2, Depeche Mode, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Paul Potts, Razorlight and Amy Macdonald as well as the national acts Die Toten Hosen and the Scorpions, who received a lifetime achievement award.

However, the German public and the media were outraged about a comment by host and comedian Oliver Pocher. When Lionel Richie announced "I'll be back in Berlin on April 20," Pocher commented "That's a special day for us" -- a tasteless reference to Adolf Hitler's birthday.