Chris Brown's emotional tribute to Jackson marks BET Awards
LOS ANGELES -- It was a night of comebacks at the BET Awards, and none more unexpected than Chris Brown's emotional tribute to Michael Jackson.
The embattled pop star has mostly kept a low profile since pleading guilty to felony assault for beating fellow singing star Rihanna in February 2009. But there he was, center stage, mimicking Jackson's signature dance moves with almost eerie accuracy. Introduced by Jackson's brother Jermaine, Brown embodied the King of Pop, wearing a fedora and spangled glove and moonwalking across the stage to "Billie Jean." Then, as Brown grabbed a microphone to sing "Man in the Mirror," he broke down in tears. His voice cracked, he couldn't sing, and at one point he crumpled to the stage in apparent agony.
Sunday's ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium here began with a comeback: Kanye West atop a volcano onstage, in his first TV appearance since dissing Taylor Swift at last year's MTV Video Music Awards.
T.I. also made a triumphant return to television in his first TV performance since being released from prison in December. He performed "Yeah Ya Know," and later returned to the stage to sing "Hello, Good Morning" with Diddy-Dirty Money, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj, who won for female hip-hop artist.
El DeBarge also made a comeback, his falsetto undiminished, performing hits "I Like It," "Time Will Reveal" and "Rhythm of the Night." Host Queen Latifah was also musical, first singing to famous members of the audience, then returning to her rap roots and rhyming about the royalty in the audience: herself and Prince, who was to receive BET's lifetime achievement award.
Usher was backed by a string section as he sang "There Goes My Baby." Drake, who was named best male hip-hop artist, performed his hit "Thank Me Later." B.o.B. was joined by Keyshia Cole, and later Eminem, on "Airplanes."