Performances steal BET Awards spotlight - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Performances steal BET Awards spotlight

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Posted: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 6:24 am | Updated: 8:29 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

LOS ANGELES - Stevie Wonder showed off his dance moves, Will Smith arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and The Fugees got together again.

Extravagant performances and on-stage antics largely stole the spotlight from the winners at Tuesday night's BET Awards - if the winners showed up at all, that is.

Among the eight no-shows was top honoree Kanye West, who earned trophies for male hip-hop artist and video of the year for his "Jesus Walks."

West's discovery, piano man John Legend, picked up his trophy for new artist and performed "Ordinary People" and "My Cherie Amour" with Wonder, who later danced while singing his new single, "So What The Fuss."

Soul diva Alicia Keys hoisted her award for female R&B artist toward the audience and declared: "This is for all my people who are really trying to dream big dreams."

Others who did show included soon-to-disband Destiny's Child, named best group, and 19-year-old Atlanta singer Ciara, the leading nominee who won for her dance collaboration with Missy Elliott on "1, 2 Step."

The show kicked off with a surprise reunion of The Fugees, who haven't recorded an album together since 1996's "The Score" and haven't even been on speaking terms in recent years.

"If you want another Fugee album, let me see your hands in the air right now," Wyclef Jean said after climbing into the crowd. The group performed "Ready Or Not" and put a reggae twist on "Fu-Gee-La."

Lauryn Hill, who had largely dropped out of public view since her 2002 live album, sounded weak at first, saying at one point, "We got a little overzealous in rehearsal." Her voice returned in time for a rendition of "Killing Me Softly With His Song."

Backstage, third member Pras said the group was in the studio and hoped to release an album next year. The Fugees split after "egos got real big," he said, adding that there were "a lot of wounds ... getting healed right now."

Hosts Mr. and Mrs. Smith - that's Will and Jada Pinkett - arrived on-stage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre in a horse-drawn carriage with spinning custom rims.

Jamie Foxx won the award for best actor, and though he wasn't on stage he had recorded an audio message to presenter Tom Cruise, saying: "I'm jumping up and down on the couch right now in my room."

Denzel Washington's wife Pauletta accepted an award honoring the couple's charitable endeavors, and Keys presented R&B and gospel legend Gladys Knight with a lifetime achievement trophy.

"Every record that you bought and every concert ticket that you paid for has allowed me to be in this spot today," said Knight, who wore a pink jacket with feathery flourishes on the sleeves.

Knight then performed three songs including the tune that got her and the Pips their first Grammy, "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)."

Winners of the fifth annual awards show were decided by a panel of executives from entertainment companies, record labels and the media, except the viewers' choice award in which fans voted online for their favorite video.

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