As expected, Kanye West – staging his first major comeback performance anywhere besides a high school – performed his new single “Power” from on top of a volcano (or was that just his ego?) and got the night off to a promising start.
Kanye West – “Power”
But the night’s most shocking performance belonged to Chris Brown – who (despite the obvious knock against him) earned genuine applause for his dance tribute to Michael Jackson, just after the anniversary of MJ’s death. (We were wondering when he’d get around to paying his respects). Watch, though, as Brown breaks down during “Man In The Mirror”. Was it all real? You tell us. (And just when you thought tributes couldn’t get any weirder, right?)
Chris Brown – Michael Jackson tribute
Chris went on to win BET’s “fandemonium” award, and his short acceptance speech said it all: “I let y’all down before, I won’t do it again. I promise.”
It was also a big night for Drake, who took home the award for Male Hip-Hop Artist Of The Year. Drake shouted out his incarcerated mentor and friend Lil Wayne repeatedly, in his acceptance speech and of course in his performance, which included “Fireworks”, “Over” and “Lose My Mind”. (He was joined on stage by Young Jeezy, though we would’ve much preferred a Weezy call from Rikers.).
Drake – “Fireworks”, “Over”, “Lose My Mind”
After Drake, the only performance that could compare came from the only artist to outsell him recently: Eminem. Watch Marshall join B.o.B and Keyshia Cole for B.o.B.’s “Airplanes Part 2″ and his own “Not Afraid”. (Really, BET? You couldn’t get Hayley Williams for this one?)
Eminem, B.o.B, Keyshia Cole – “Airplanes, Part 2″, “Not Afraid”
Other standout performances came from Alicia Keys, who performed a medley of her hits – looking divine (and showing that baby bump!):
Alicia Keys – “No One”, “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”, “If I Ain’t Got You”
Alicia joined in a series of tributes to Prince, who received a lifetime achievement award. Perhaps the best (and wildest) of them was Janelle Monae’s wide-eyed cover of “Let’s Go Crazy”. Even Prince had to crack a smile.
Janelle Monae – “Let’s Go Crazy”
T.I., with Blink 182′s Travis Barker on drums, made a fiery return to the stage with “Yeah Ya Know”.
T.I. – “Yeah Ya Know”
And Usher dressed the stage all in white for his triumphant performance of “There Goes My Baby”.
Usher – “There Goes My Baby”
If you missed anything, you can watch the whole show here.
Did you watch the show live? What was your favorite moment?