It's award season! Not unlike any other year, BET has set out to make this year bigger, better and badder than any other previous year. By enlisting yet another comedian as its host, Kevin Hart, BET was determined to make this year's BET Awards the most watched EVER!
Well with over 7 million viewers I guess we can say mission accomplished. However, the quality of the show did not match the anticipation or excitement. The show which usually opens with mind blowing performances (in recent years Kanye West and Beyonce) this year opened with a lack luster performance by Queen Mary J. Blige in which she strolled back and forth across the stage like a pedestrian singing a melody of chart toppers. The most exciting thing about her performance was the addition of her latest single, "It Aint Over" to the set. The exciting part was not Mary herself but the inclusion of New Yorker Jadakiss in the performance.
Even more sadly, Kevin Hart. hit the stage with a disjointed Greek step performance which paled in comparison to the Mo'Nique opener of 2005. It seems, every year since BET has been trying to create the powerhouse moment when Mo'Nique and her dancers gave Beyonce a run for her money! Nevertheless, after the stepping was over, Kevin Hart was able to amuse the audience with a vat of jokes talking shots at everyone including Diddy and Rick Ross.
Other highlights of the night were Kelly Rowland's sexy rendition of "Motivation". Unexpectedly Rowland strutted on stage mid-way through Trey Songz' set to perform her hit single. In an ensemble reminiscent of Janet Jackson's "I Get Lonely" video, Rowland began gyrating like none other. Proving she could hold her own Rowland also provided her own vocals and danced like she was back in her Destiny's Child days. Another stand out this year was BET's tribute to Patti Labelle. Cee-Lo dressed as Patti gave a wonderful performance as well as Marsha Ambrosius and Pastor Shirley Cesar. Not to mention Gladys Knight's introduction of Patti was elegantly amazing. BET's memorial tribute took up more than the usual 30 seconds and included performances by West Coast legends Snoop, Warren G and Ledisi.
While the BET Awards have been known as the everything BET showcase, what BET could have done without this year was the gospel performance. Despite being outstanding singers, in the midst of the young money militia and all things hip-hop Mary Mary look, feel and sound of out place. Furthermore, the attempt to seamlessly fuse the old and new school artists was cute in '06 but has now lost its zest. Watching Alexander O'neal and Cherrelle perform was painful to say the least. I mean, O'neal resembled Forrest Whitaker in Jason's Lyric and couldn't even remember the words to his only hit song. The performance by the Five Hearts and After 7 was amazing, but where did that come from?
In typical fashion the BET honored the YMCB conglomerate as well as its rising stars and comeback kid Chris Brown. The award show didn't seem to be about the awards as it was about seeing what people were wearing. Fashion was the main attraction at this year's BET Awards which signals that the show may have lost its pizazz despite millions of views.