Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Eminem shined the brightest among the star-filled Shrine Auditorium on Sunday night (June 27), wowing the audience at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles.
Brown put out a sizzling tribute to Michael Jackson, just days after the one-year anniversary of the pop icon's death, with a medley that included "Remember the Time" and "Billie Jean." The embattled R&B star's take on "Man in the Mirror" was measured and emotional, tugging at the hearts of many as Brown broke down during the song's refrain.
The singer was decked out in full MJ gear, from the bandaged fingers to the high-waisted pants. As he struggled to finish the lyrics to the song, the audience assisted him, completing the words he could not as he dropped and rose from his knees.
Alicia Keys was just as stirring, performing her own solo set and contributing to the tribute to Prince, who was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Patti LaBelle and Janelle Monae also joined Keys to pay homage to the Purple One. Keys, replete with her newly public baby bump, sang "Adore" and shocked those in attendance when she crawled atop her piano to finish out the sexy number.
Eminem also performed twice, taking the stage with B.o.B for the "Airplanes" remix and his own "Not Afraid."
Drake was among the night's big winners, as he and Young Money cohort Nicki Minaj took home trophies for Best Hip-Hop Artist, male and female, respectively. The Lil Wayne protégés both shouted out their imprisoned CEO and later took part in crowd-pleasing performances.
Drake brought out Young Jeezy, after he ran through his own "Fireworks" and "Over," and the pair debuted the remix to the Snowman's latest, "Lose My Mind."
Young Money's leading lady was at the center of two performances: Ludacris' show-ending set and Diddy's Dirty Money showcase. Minaj was as colorful as ever, and the femcee was sexy in an outfit as tight as her razor-sharp rhymes. The Queens rapper shouted out her fellow female rhyme-slingers, helping to dial down the back-and-forth between her and Lil Kim.
Prince and John Legend were separately honored, the latter for his humanitarian efforts. Beyoncé's collaboration with Lady Gaga, "Telephone," took home the coveted Video of the Year award. Gary Coleman, Lena Horne and Teddy Pendergrass were recognized, with each dying in the past 12 months.
El DeBarge raised the crowd to its feet as the former Motown legend held his own with a mini-set of his band's greatest hits, including "Rhythm of the Night."
Kanye West and T.I. both returned to the public's consciousness, as the MCs performed publicly for the first time since leaving the spotlight: West after his meltdown at the Video Music Awards last year and Tip after serving time for gun charges.
Tip took to the stage with Travis Barker on the drums, and in slick fashion, the Atlanta star performed "Takers" from his upcoming film of the same name.
West opened the show with "Power," the first single from his forthcoming album. The Chicago lyricist was spirited and styling, appearing in an all-red ensemble and rapping atop a constructed mountaintop.
Queen Latifah held down MC duties for the evening and poked and prodded at the assembled celebrities in attendance. The actress raked on Drake for the rapper's line "Set it off, Jada Pinkett," with her own rendition that mentioned her character in the movie "Set It Off," name-dropping Cleo.
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