So the dust has settled and the BET Awards 2008 are now, but a memory. In my opinion the show was a so-so affair that was easily outshone by last year’s ceremony.
The much hyped Beyonce, Usher and Lil’ Wayne joint performance proved to be a non-event, as, even though the ‘Déjà vu’ singer was spotted in Los Angeles just the day before, she was no where to be seen during the award show itself. In its place, we were treated to a, somewhat, decent solo showing of ‘Love In The Club’ by Usher. However, the entirely lipsynched performance lacked that extra something that would have made me remember it after they cut to the next segment. For an artist who’s place as the top male R&B artist is continually called into question by supporters of younger stars, this was not a good look – at all.
Elsewhere, the show’s lack of ‘that extra something’ was heightened by run-of-the-mill performances by Young Jeezy and surprisingly Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, T-Pain and, to a lesser extent, Nelly (both Ciara and Fergie were worthwhile –and much needed- additions to his set). None of these performances engaged me long enough to warrant anything other than the ‘what’s the next performance’ treatment.
Hot mess of the night, no doubt, went to Miss Keyshia Cole. From the absolutely horrid vocals (a pitchy, strained and screeching atrocity), I was left wondering if she’d taken ‘anything’ before the show with her bizarre choreography. Honestly though, what was that? I didn’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for her (if she was serious). I think I decided on something right down the middle. Randomness: Lil’ Kim looked good, didn’t she? Moving on…
On a more positive note, brace yourselves people….I actually, dare I say it, kinda enjoyed Rihanna’s performance of ‘Take A Bow’. Granted the song is still and always will be the pits IMO, in her defence she did sound exactly like the record, which surely must count for something. Randomness: Did anyone else spot Chris Brown in the audience singing along?
Alicia Keys brief 90’s group revival was a great addition to her pretty decent showing of ‘Teenage Love Affair’. Watching this was such a contrast to the sleep-inducing piano-strapped Alicia performances we used to be subject to not too long ago. All the groups did their thing as well; SWV with ‘Weak’, the original line-up of EnVogue (good on Dawn!) and TLC. I will excuse the latter – namely T-Boz – for sounding flat-out shot and looking kinda depressed on stage, as the premise of the performance was so great and offered one of the few moments of genuine surprise during the 3 hour telecast.
I’d have to say performance of the night, for me, is a toss-up between Ne-Yo’s near-flawless performance of ‘Closer’ and Chris Brown and Ciara’s show-stopping rendition of ‘Take You Down’. It’s safe to say Ne-Yo was the wildcard when it came to male performances going into the show , considering both Usher and Chris Brown were also billed. However, to say he staked his claim as a performer would be an understatement. Put simply, Ne-Yo wiped the floor with Usher and most other performances tonight; who the hell knew he could move like that? Great stuff.
I know many were shocked, as was I, to see Ciara join Chris Brown on stage for ‘Take You Down’. What took place in the minutes that lay ahead, no doubt, has people talking. Whatever one’s view, there is no denying that they delivered one hell of a performance. As an avid fan of both Michael and Janet, I really did see, in Chris and Ciara, the new generation’s leaders in terms of the ‘all-round performer’. Randomess: LOL at how they kept cutting to Rihanna.
All in all, despite its few (and far between) moments of greatness, this year’s show was somewhat of a let down in comparison to last year (See: Beyonce & Kelly Rowland 07 BET Award performance) and definitely lacked the jaw-dropping moments that are supposed to make such show’s un-missable. Whereas the BET Awards have trumped the VMA’s on a year in and year out basis IMO, watching this actually has me anticipating what MTV will be serving up come August / September.