A few thoughts on the 2010 BET Awards performances. This post is in two parts. The first part includes non-Prince performances. The second part is for the Prince tribute. Dig in.
4. Alicia Keys
This woman is a professional. Hands down. Personal struggles? No problem. Pregnancy? Pssshhh. She went out there and rocked the crowd like it was her first gig. If she was in any sort of discomfort, you wouldn’t know it. If you didn’t like her “Unthinkable” performance, you’re either a Mashonda fan or Mashonda herself.
3. Kanye West
The show kicked off on a high note, with Kanye performing his new single “Power.” His backdrop was awe-inspiring and the vocals were sharp. Someone in BET’s control room held down the bleep button far too long, even though Kanye self-edited his lyrics to avoid this sort of bleepfest. It was still a solid performance, as you can see below.
2. El Debarge
This set took me back to my childhood. El Freakin Debarge constituted a big part of my childhood soundtrack. For those of you who thought El Debarge was a freakin group, I hope you watched him shut it down. I also hope Pharrell was taking notes on how to really rock a falsetto. *Crickets*
1. Michael Jackson Tribute (Chris Brown)
As I pointed out in my liveblog of the awards, the first half of Chris Brown’s Michael Jackson tribute was one of the best performances of the night. It appeared as if Brown disappeared and Michael Jackson returned. I even forgive BET for doing this one a year late. Now, about those crocodile tears…well, someone at Breezy’s label was smiling big after that.
Grading the Prince Tributes Based on Prince’s Reaction
As the Lifetime Award recipient, Prince was honored with an all-girl musical tribute. Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys, and Patti LaBelle played famous Prince songs, while Prince made faces. In fact, Prince made so many faces that it’s possible to grade the tribute based on his reaction.
Janelle Monae – “Let’s Go Crazy”: Monae kept it real with her vocals, unlike many of the artists who lip-synched the entire night (Nicki Minaj, I’m looking at you).
What Prince was thinking: “That’s more my style. But what’s with that black cotton ball on her hair?” A
Esperanza Spalding: Prince looked bored during this performance, though he did crack an occasional smile. Maybe he was telepathically channeling his thoughts to Esperanza.
What Prince was thinking: “Why wasn’t she born 20 years earlier?” B
Alicia Keys: Alicia and her pregnant self was gyrating like crazy on the piano. She poured her heart and soul into that tribute. Prince closed his eyes and nodded a few times.
What Prince was thinking: “Maybe I can arrange for her to sing me to sleep every night, assuming she doesn’t fall off that piano first.” B+
Patti LaBelle: Patti bodied “Purple Rain.” It brought her to tears. Then she brought Prince to tears. The best part was when she took off her Louboutins and threw them away. Prince jumped out of his seat and picked up Patti’s shoes and raised it to the crowd like he just won the World Cup.
What Prince was thinking: “I’ll add this to my collection, right next to Kim Basinger’s brassiere.” A+
And I can’t be the only one who kept thinking about this when he took to the stage.