BET Awards 2010: Winners, Losers… And Chris Brown
What a night! The 2010 BET Awards definitely did not disappoint. Check the rundown…
Kanye West kicked things off with an eagerly anticipated performance of his new single, “Power.” Perched atop a mountain surrounded by lava and wearing a huge gold Pharaoh chain, ‘Ye’s presence was as commanding as ever. Queen Latifah then hit the stage as the night’s host, performing a cabaret-inspired opening sequence complete with the first of many outfit changes for the night. Jada Pinkett Smith came out as the first presenter, giving a jubilant Alicia Keys the Best Female R&B Artist award. Usher smoothed things out even more with a sexy performance of “There Goes My Baby,” followed by Nicki Minaj being awarded Best Female Hip-Hop Act (no surprise to anyone) and dedicating it to Lil Wayne.
Backed by Travis Barker on the drums, a determined-looking T.I. grabbed the mic next to perform his new single “Yeah Ya Know.” Actors Nia Long and Larenz Tate, who performed a steamy rendition of their classic spoken word interactions in 1997′s Love Jones, presented Best Hip-Hop Artist to a visibly humble Drake (somewhat of a surprise winner over seasoned veteran Jay-Z). Five months pregnant and glowing, Alicia Keys then performed a medley of her hits “No One,” “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart,” “If I Ain’t Got You” (with gospel singer Kim Burrell) and “Unthinkable.” The next significant moment undoubtedly came when Queen Latifah and T.I. introduced B.o.B who performed his single “Airplanes” (with surprise vocalist Keyshia Cole), and was followed by a solemn-looking Eminem, who seemingly came out of nowhere to perform his new hits and remind everyone why he’s one of the greatest MCs of all time.
Fashion choices aside (people on Twitter were saying she looked like everything from a bat to The Count from Sesame Street) Monica tore down “Everything To Me” in a duet with soul singer Deniece Williams. With her matured voice sounding similar to her idol Whitney Houston‘s, Mo then presented Best Collaboration to Alicia Keys for her duet with Jay-Z, “Empire State Of Mind.” The “ooh” moment of the night followed straight after Latifah announcing the next performer (Diddy) as “only seen in the company of fine women—just like me,” perhaps alluding to her long-debated sexual preference. Diddy woke the audience up with a spirited rendition of the “Hello, Good Morning” remix, with Dirty Money, T.I. and Nicki Minaj rocking out amidst over-zealous smoke machines.
The highlight of the night came when Jermaine Jackson introduced the Michael Jackson tribute without saying the name of the performer, only guaranteeing it would be phenomenal. And it was. A determined Chris Brown put his heart and soul into paying homage to his idol, and then some. While he was a little shaky on the spins and the Moonwalk, he nailed pretty much everything else, reminding everyone why he’s a star. While his past will never be forgotten, Chris’s intense and very real emotional breakdown to “Man In The Mirror” (which had audience members like Melanie Fiona screaming out in support) will forever be a turning point in his career.
Latifah announced Drake up next, and the Toronto-born star brought out Young Jeezy for a solid performance of “Lose My Mind (Remix).” Drake dedicated his win of the night to his mother, as did Trey Songz when the Black Eyed Peas presented him with Best Male R&B Artist. The appearance of El DeBarge, who performed a string of hits (including one of my favorites, “Rhythm Of The Night”) was a huge surprise and definite crowd-pleaser, as were tributes to Gary Coleman (by former Diff’rent Strokes co-star Todd Bridges) and Teddy Pendergrass (by Tyrese).
The gospel contingent (Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, et al) dedicated a moving tribute song to Haiti, and Chairwoman/CEO of BET, Debra Lee, presented an emotional John Legend with the Humanitarian Award. Trey Songz returned to the stage to perform his steamy “Your Side Of The Bed” and attempted to cover Prince‘s “Purple Rain,” a valiant effort that received a lukewarm reaction from The Purple One himself. When it came time for Prince’s official Icon Award, however, the performers he reportedly handpicked to perform for him—Janelle Monae (“Let’s Go Crazy”), Esperanza Spalding (“If I Was Your Girlfriend”), Alicia Keys (“Adore”) and Patti LaBelle (a killer rendition of “Purple Rain”)—got him up off his feet, cheering and reveling in the moment. For his part, Prince said: “I was pretty wild in my younger days and you don’t have to do what I did…you don’t have to make any of the mistakes I made. The future is in your hands now, the world is really yours.” The last performance of the night, Ludacris‘s “My Chick Bad” mashed up with DJ Khaled‘s hit “All I Do Is Win (Remix),” definitely gave the awards a high-energy finale.
What were your favorite moments of the 2010 BET Awards?