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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.

What do you think of the performances?
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BET Awards 2008: Your Shout!
As the much anticipated 2008 BET Awards are about to get underway live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, That Grape Juice’s ‘BET Awards 2008: Your Shout!’ area goes live right now!
Here you can post your views on anything and everything regarding the show. Pre-show rumors…Who you’re looking forward to seeing… Who you feel rocked the red carpet, who should have skipped it altogether LOL…Who deserved to win what…and all that good stuff. This is your shout!
Lil' KimCheck out the red carpet arrivals. (Post will be updated continually)…

Gabrielle UnionJennifer Hudson

What do you think of the pics?

The video for Jennifer Hudson’s debut single ‘Spotlight’ premiered on BET today, ahead of the Awards. I must say, I’m really liking the Chris Robinson directed clip. Though the concept has been done several times already, Jennifer’s undeniable swagger and presence on screen made for a real engaging video. ‘Spotlight’ has grown on me considerably since my initial listen, something the video will most definitely serve to continue.

What do you think of the video?

Eve - 'Fantasy (ft. Robin Thicke)With Eve’s serially delayed ‘Here I Am’ LP still facing an uncertain future (due ‘sometime in 2008’), it’s kind of refreshing to finally hear more of what the album will be serving up. Featuring R&B crooner Robin Thicke on the hook, ‘Fantasy’ is a decent mid-tempo cut. Saying that, considering the caliber of both artists, I kinda expected something with more ‘umph’; the chorus is kinda lacking lyrically IMO.

Hit or Miss?

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Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday A host of stars joined Solange at a private resisdence in Los Angeles last night to celebrate her 22nd birthday. Celebs in attendance included big sister Beyonce, mum and dad – Tina and Matthew, Ludacris, Ne-Yo, Mario and Melody Thornton from the Pussycat Dolls.
Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday
Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday
Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday Solange Celebrates 22nd Birthday

What do you think of the pics?
Mariah's 'Bye Bye' Tanking It would that seem in between the quickie marriage to Nick Cannon, questionable live performances etc, Mariah Carey’s ‘E=MC²’ is in relative free-fall. Though the set has sold over a million copies since its release back in April, things aren’t looking too good for the LP at present.

Currently sitting at #21 on the Billboard 200, the album’s second single ‘Bye Bye’ only peaked at #19 on the Hot 100, and, even with a physical release this week, isn’t even top 40 in the UK mid week charts.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think is the reason for this….
Your thoughts?
It seems the ‘beef’ between Soulja Boy and Ice T isn’t going to subside anytime soon. The 17 year old ‘Crank That’ star has responded with this cartoon to Ice T’s response (if that makes any sense lol):

…and the drama continues…

Your thoughts?

Beyonce On The Set of 'Obsessed' Check out Beyonce on the set of her new movie ‘Obsessed’ in Los Angeles yesterday. The ‘Crazy In Love’ star plays the wife of a successful businessman, whose life (and that of his family) is threatened by a crazy office worker of his who turns out to be a stalker. Interesting stuff lol.
I’m thinking this will be the make or break role for Beyonce’s quest to be taken seriously as an actress. ‘Dreamgirls’ was definitely a step in the right direction, however, this is obviously the more challenging role. ‘Obsessed’ hits theatres worldwide in March next year.

Beyonce On The Set of 'Obsessed' Beyonce On The Set of 'Obsessed' Beyonce On The Set of 'Obsessed'

What do you think of the pics?

In a pretty odd happening, Danity Kane performed on Country music’s version of American Idol, Nashville Star last night. Yes, I have no idea why they were booked to perform there either. Anyway, about the performance, it was pretty good. The ladies have definitely had better live vocal showings, however their stage presence compensated for that 100%, they really worked the stage like the seasoned performers they’ve become.

What do you think of the performance?

R. Kelly - 'Playas Get Lonely'Following the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict that was handed down in the R. Kelly trial a few weeks back, the singer is pressing ahead with the release of his new album ’12 Play: 4th Quarter’ (due this summer). A track said to feature on the set titled ‘Playas Get Lonely’ has surfaced. I must I’m quite feeling this mid-tempo cut. Here’s hoping the album itself is pretty good, as I feel, excluding 2005’s ‘Trapped In The Closet’ episodes, Kelly’s LP’s have gotten progressively worse since

Hit or Miss?

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Yesterday, Bad Boy five-piece Day26 performed their single ‘Got Me Going’ on BET’s 106 & Park, which aired from Los Angeles in preparation for tonight’s BET Awards:

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Great performance. I was about to go off though when I realized they were performing ‘Got Me Going’ again, seeing they have a new single out. The ‘Since You Been Gone’ acapella was a nice touch, though. As reported, the video for the single will premiere on MTV this Friday.

What do you think of the performance?