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Today’s roundtable topic is the…
2015 BET Awards Review
As award shows go, BET continues to pull ahead of the pack with its ability to deliver a full bodied spectacle that serves up what every of such show should strive for – moments.
And last night wasn’t short on those.
For yours truly, the most titillating was the re-appearance of Janet Jackson as well as the re-affirmation of Ciara as this generation’s most gifted female dancer.
Make no mistake about it, I was part of the many who let out a collective sigh when it became clear Janet herself wasn’t performing. Beyond the fact she just released a new single and announced a tour, the marketing for the show was built around her big comeback and there seemed to be heavy suggestion that she’d be taking to the stage. In hindsight, that now feels like it was a smart ratings ploy – one that is likely to have worked. I “get” it from a business standpoint, but as a fan, I wanted to see Janet in action. Simple as.
Still, she looked so sensational that the fact she essentially told us “y’all will have to see me on tour” is alright with me (pun intended).
As for the tribute, Tinashe, Jason, and Ci nailed it. Yes, in reflection, it could and should have been longer if Ms. Jackson wasn’t performing, but the allocation still provided each of them time enough to adequately shine and justify their spot on the stage.
For me, personally, Ciara was most magnetising. She ate that ‘If’ and ‘Rhythm Nation’ choreography and – if folk watch closely – managed to weave in elements of her own trademarks too. Having seen all your comments about how much she needed to smash the performance, it was epic to see her deliver and then some.
Other notable moments for me, include the K. Michelle and Tamar Braxton reconciliation. Because as entertaining as their beef was, it’s great to see the ladies put differences to the side and celebrate each other. The cynic in me does wonder how much of it was legit vs a legitimate means to promote their respective new singles. But hey, it was what it was and what it was was a great BET moment ordained by Pastor Patti.
The Bad Boy reunion was another highlight. Who’d have thought that after all those “Diddy contracts” he’d be able to rally up so many notable names? Lil Kim was all sorts of epic too. When will she stop playing on this indie/mixtape terrain and actually make a “real” comeback. The teasing is too much.
All in all, BET blazed with another commendable show.
Last night’s show was awesome. However, I’m sure many will agree with me when I say there were a number of “moments” that failed to live up to their hype.
The first? The Janet tribute. Yes, hate to say it but it wasn’t what it could have been. Tinashe is undeniably one of the Urban world’s more promising acts, but failed to deliver the precision Janet choreography needs to avoid looking amateurish.
Then there was Jason Derulo. Much like Tinashe, he struggled to cough up the “wow” factor the tribute was in need of and offered a performance that was unfortunately forgettable despite being on-point technically.
And Ciara? 50/50. Why? Her performance of ‘If’ was awesome but felt incomplete with vocals that would have added another layer of personality to the tribute.
So, who stole the show? This a tough one however I’d have to say Lil Kim’s return to the BET stage stood as its highlight. It would have been the Tamar, K. Michelle & Patti Labelle if the latter (in all her royalty) hadn’t ruined the moments with selfish wailing and screaming that took away from what should have been Tamar and Michelle’s moment.
So, why Lil Kim? After seeing her career take many a hit it was great to see her prove that she’s anything but finished when it comes to live performances and remind many naysayers that it’s the one area she surpasses Nicki Minaj in. Stage presence.
The absolutely best BET Awards to date. Jam-packed with more memorable moments than any of its predecessors, the 2015 edition of Urban music’s biggest night definitely ticked a number of boxes for me. Undoubted highlights came in the form of the Smokey Robinson tribute (that Tori Kelly absolutely slayed), the Janelle Monae & Jidenna performance, and surprisingly well placed tag team of Alicia Keys & The Weeknd.
The surprise faces like The Weeknd, Tori Kelly, and Jason Derulo is certainly a departure for BET given their affinity for Black artists that aren’t so subtly “Urban” in their approach.
The moments of the night that will probably be the most talked about in years to come – the Bad Boy Reunion and Janet Jackson’s Tribute – ironically left the most to be desired for me. Don’t get me wrong, both were every flavor of epic, but both just seemed to be missing something I can’t quite put my finger on. The Bad Boy reunion, in all of its splendor, was just too damn long. The hype of any surprise performance will die down if it goes on and on (even though I’m still abuzz at how AMAZING the Queen Bee was).
Jackson’s tribute, the most anticipated moment of the night, saw me wanting a little more from everyone. Tinashe was just too excited, Derulo seemed to lack excitement, and Ciara reminded everyone why she truly is Janet’s “daughter.” It just lacked the punch that Usher/Mya/Pink’s rendition did despite having better picks dancers collectively.
While some were disappointed Jan didn’t perform, I’m glad she didn’t as I truly believe performing her new slow groove would’ve killed the vibe.
You can always count on the BET Awards. Though it was a very eventful night, my highlights came courtesy of the current generation of entertainers, a reunion of bad boys and girls and a burgeoning diva.
The Bad Boy reunion was such an exciting moment, it was truly special seeing all those artists get together again on stage after so long and amidst all the drama that had surrounded some of them at some point. Goes out to show that at the end of the day, all that matters is the impact of your legacy. Great showing.
Janelle Monae continues to show growth in her artistry and I for one really enjoy it. Through the years, she has proved herself as a quality act, it’s good to see her switch it up to a less serious side without losing her authenticity.
The tribute to Janet was a bit frustrating to me: I really thought Jan would use a platform like the BET Awards to give her new single a bit more traction with a sizzling performance that only she can deliver.
Still, I had the immense pleasure of watching three artists perform their behinds off to some of Janet’s most iconic moments.
Tinashe was a perfect choice for ‘Pleasure Principle,’ her energy as well as look landed itself exceptionally well to the 80’s banger. Not so ironically, Mr Derulo got to dance to one of Jackson’s most ‘Pop’ sounding single, ‘All For You’ and did a fantastic job. The absolute main attraction though was Ms. Ciara Harris who you could tell was living a dream; it’s as if she had rehearsed for this day all of her life. At some point, it wasn’t clear if Janet herself had entered the stage or not since CiCi was channeling her so amazingly. She was simply phenomenal and was clearly the leader of this Rhythm Nation.
Anyhow, congrats Ms. Jackson.
All in all, it was a very colorful evening with a lot of surprises which had a lot of replay value.
Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and 2015 BET Awards!