So here we go.
The BET Awards 09 was the first televised award ceremony since the unexpected death of Michael Jackson. And although I feel like it’s more than appropriate for BET to celebrate him, being that a good 90% of the artists in the building owe so much to Jackson and the fact that BET have been long time supporters of all the Jacksons even when the other video networks betrayed him. And I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, they had less than three days to re-arrange the format of the show to make it a fitting and respectful tribute to the Legend.
For the most part, they did a great job. Jamie Foxx was the host and he did a pretty excellent job, his opening monologue included a hilariously funny attempt at Moonwalking and throughout the show he celebrated his love for Jackson and reminded the audience why he was so important.
There were a few performances of Jackson’s hits by current artists. Ciara performed “Heal the World”, Jamie Foxx and Ne-Yo dueted at the end on “I’ll Be There”, but Ne-Yo provided the best performance (imo) with “Lady in my Life”. Ne-Yo connected with the song on an emotional level, and his vocals were the best I ever heard them. Aside from those handful of performances, and testimonies from stars in the audience on how Michael influenced them, there wasn’t much else as far as a tribute to MJ. Michael’s sister Janet Jackson came out to a standing ovation toward the end to speak for the family and thank the fans for their support.
The rest of the show was pretty typical Award show stuff.
I’m pretty sure Beyoncé won the most with two awards, Ne-Yo won, Weezy won, T.I. and Rihanna won, Lebron James won, Taraji P. Henson won. But this was not an awards show where awards were actually important. In fact, because of the last minute changes the awards alot of the categories were combined and the nominations weren’t announced. Just the winners.
Performance wise, it was pretty boring to tell you the truth.
Jamie Foxx did a terribly auto-tuned live rendition of his monster hit “Blame It”. It’s sad when T-Pain outsings you live, and you have no sense of stage presence or choreography. His performance was a bit of a mess, but still fun enough to appropriatley get the crowd on their feet.
Keri Hilson performed an uptempo medley of her two hits “Turnin Me On” and “Knock You Down” (without Ne-Yo or Kanye). She tried. She really tried. However seems like she missed a few rehearsals, or she was just super nervous. She looked awkward trying to sing live and do the little bit of choreography she was expected to do, though she still wasn’t terrible. She pulled it together enough for me not to laugh at her.
Soulja Boy Tell Em (like is that his full name? I thought it was just Soulja Boy) got the crowd all singing along to his hit(?) “Turn my Swag On”, which I hadn’t heard before and is actually a pretty catchy tune. He, like most rappers, didn’t do much performance wise. Just kind of walked back and forth on the stage. It was the crowd that made his performance a winner with Taraji, Keri and Lebron dancing and singing along.
Jay-Z introduced his new single “D.O.A. Death of Auto-Tune” to a live audience and pretty much slayed it. You could tell our boy Jigga was more than happy to be back on stage. Meanwhile his wife slowed it down (and put a bunch to sleep, I have to be honest) with her beautiful rendition of “Ave Maria” where she incorporated Sarah McLachlan‘s “Angel” and went opera on us with the original Spanish version of “Maria”. She sounded amazing, but I think everybody was expecting Sasha Fierce to come out.
Speaking of sounding Excellent, Keyshia Cole sang her duet with Monica “Trust”. They both looked great, and Keyshia made a vast improvement over her mess of a performance last year. However Monica stole ALL Ms. Cole’s shine. She sounded excellent, and like Jigga, was so excited to be back on stage. She’d be smart to release an album real soon.
Maxwell came out and performed his new single “Pretty Wings”, a beautiful song sung beautifully but just like Beyoncé Keyshia and Monica, great vocals don’t always make for the most memorable performances.
Drake and Lil Wayne‘s performance was memorable for the wrong reasons. First of all Drake was sitting down the whole time. It wasn’t until the after show that I realized he was injured and couldn’t move around. So he gets a pass, although I didn’t understand why he didn’t Sing the sung parts of his hit “Best I Ever Had”, but whatever. The most bothersome thing about the perfomance is when Lil Wayne came out with his crew to perform “We Like Her”. With all the terribly disgusting and vile comments they made within the song about Women and Sex I was really bothered with the fact they brought out about 5 or 6 under age girls (like 10-12) to stand around and dance to the song. What was he thinking?
Ofcourse there was the annual tribute, this time to The O’Jays. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’d pull Tevin Campbell out to perform for them, but they did. Than Trey Songz, Tyrese and Johnny Gill came and sang a trio of the O’Jays hits as “The Young O’Jays”. They sounded good, but I have to say Trey Songz impressed me the most. He has great vocal talent. With the right material he’d be bigger than Chris Brown without a doubt.
I can’t think of anything else to say about the show. Masterfully MC’d by Jamie Foxx, and pretty solid performances. I think overall I may just be getting bored of Award shows. However this was a good effort overall for the network. And I think they succeeded in giving Michael a great tribute.