1) Chris Brown Performance: GRADE: 6
Started off performing his recent single “Fine China,” which was well coordinated. Moved on to the 2nd song, his recently released single “They Don’t Know.” I loved that he did not focus too much on his dancing, but gave more focus to his singing. Finally for 3rd record feat. Nicki Minaj, which brought the happy club track dance sound (which is more up Brown’s alley).
Expectations: Heavy dancing & interaction with audience
Weaknesses: Did not sing as much as I’d liked
Strengths: Brought the needed energy to start off the awards show
2) Robin Thicke Performance: Grade: 6
Did the only performance of his song “Blurred Lines.” His performance did not differ from that of the video. Enjoyed his walking into the audience, singing and interacting with them….that’s definitely a plus.
Expectations: Thicke’s sharp movements. Laid back performance
Weaknesses: I needed him to put a small spin on the song for a LIVE show performance
Strengths: Clean and crisp
3) Kendrick Lamar Performance: Grade: 10
Started off hype while strictly rhyming. His 2nd song was none other than “Don’t Kill My Vibe” with Erykah Badu singing. Wonderful idea to include her in the performance. An unexpected move that proved successful for him. Rode the entire vibe of his performance with no hype man. Instrument music brought back that old school music (especially the horns sections). Erykah KILLED IT!!
Expectations: Well-rounded Performance. Exceeded my expectations!
Strengths: Classic hip-hop performance, with a touch of traditional 90’s R&B performances. Everything!!
4) R. Kelly Performance: Grade: 7
As usual, Kelly being that dramatic performer (in a good sense), had a slew of individuals singing from the aisles of the audience, his many famous hits, with no music supporting them. Kelly somewhat continued that by performing short but, lively medleys, of his hits such as: “Ignition Remix,” “Body Callin,” “Bump N’ Grind,” and “It Seems Like You’re Ready.”
Expectations: Performances that would take viewers on a journey
Weaknesses: Did not perform any of the songs in entirety
Strengths: Brought back the much needed old school R&B sound and vibe
5) Mariah Carey Performance: Grade: 5
Let’s start on a positive note. I’m a huge fan of Mariah and the music she creates. A legend without a doubt. But, this was the worst performance I’ve witnessed of her.The obvious (in your face) lip synching was too much to handle.
Expectations: Massive vocals
Weaknesses: Heavy lip-synching; short performance
Strengths: Looked beautiful and signature whisper scream
6) Miguel Performance: Grade: 7
Began performing “How Many Drinks” with a sort of Prince look and disposition. Great falsetto in early part of verses. Not much movement…more serenading.
Expectations: Fresh rendition of song/s. Overall, pretty much did all that I expected
Weaknesses: Did not switch up the song as mcuch
Strengths: Voice sounded great (ended with a strong high note) and Kendrick topped it off
7) Charlie Wilson Tribute Performance: Grade: 10
India Irie started first with singing Charlie’s song “There Goes My Baby.” Started off really strong, with a subdued vibe. Sounded shaky around the middle but got it back together in no time. Jamie Foxx was next up in paying tribute with another Charlie record “Yearning For Your Love.” He brought soul to the song & performance, much like Charlie did. Stevie was next with “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)”– great lively display behind the piano. The crowd loved it. Then the legend himself, Charlie Wilson, came on to the stage after accepting his special award, and turned up the heat. He started with “The Reason.” He had a hard time hearing himself, but he still sounded amazing and held his notes! Them, it was Charlie feat. Pharrell & Snoop Dogg with “Beautiful”– solid performance, with background singers and musicians on point. Charlie feat. Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, & Snoop with “Signs,” “Girl You Knock Me Out,” and “Drop Bomb on Me.” They all sounded pretty great on these songs and performed well together, one would think they had been performing together for years.
Expectations: Immaculate singing with throwback R&B sound
Strengths: Superb energy, voices, and movements. Charlie moves and dances way below his age!!
8) J. Cole Performance: Grade: 9
Enjoyed his intimate opening with audience. The 2nd song he did, “Power Trip” featured Miguel — great energy and flow from both.
Expectations: Hype and interactive with viewers
Weaknesses: Short performance
Strengths: Smart performance throughout without the craziness
Tamela Mann Performance: Grade: 10
Only performed her heartfelt gospel record, “Take Me To the King.” Great start, resonant tone, calm & relaxed (standing right behind mic). Background singers did not come into the performance from beginning to end & she handled it really well on her own. Her voice soared beautifully towards the end, while still showing composure. Sudden, but smart ending.
Expectations: Strong vocals that would leave viewers in awe
Strengths: Ended on a very strong high note; emotions played well into performance
10) Ciara Performance Grade: 10
Started off with her brand new single, “Super Turnt Up” feat Nicki Minaj. After Nicki did her thing, Ciara emerged with those immaculate dance moves…dance moves that never gets tired for me. I wanted more signing from Ciara on that song, but I’ll let her pass, being that it is more of a performance record. She then did her last single “Body Party.” Loved that she stayed focused on her sultry singing while killing the dance moves. I have to say she is the female Usher when it comes down to dance steps. For the end of “Body Party” she switched it up in the end with a spin, that resembled 90’s R&B.
Expectations: Explosive dancing with sultry, sexy vocals
Weaknesses: Really can’t think of one
Strengths: Passionate and emotional singing; draw dropping hip movements
11) Reggae Medley Performance: Grade 10
Let me start by saying: As a Jamaican, I was proud and honored to have BET give us our little time to shine and display boldly our music on a mainstream stage. I think we showed the world that Jamaicans can party all day and night with our non-stop loud & exciting music. Thanks to Jabba for being our strong and enduring hype man. Nuff Respect to Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Pliers and Chaka Demus for sharing clips of their memorable music with all. Their energy was super and the audience went wild!! Jamaica Tun Up!
Expectations: Energy, Energy, Energy!!
12) 2 Chainz Performance: Grade: 6
Ok performance, decent 1st song. Couldn’t understand his outfit. His 2nd song feat. Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky was calm and everyone held their own.
Expectations: Loud and unclear lyrics
Weaknesses: Could have started off with a more popular song that most people knows
Strengths: Lyrics were quite clear and pulled off a decent show
13) Janelle Monae Performance: Grade 8
Instruments sounded really great, though I was not feeling the song as much. Janelle’s energy and pretty moves kept her performance alive. Janelle’s rap and introduction of Erykah Badu were intelligent and proved successful.
Expectations: Uniform outfit
Weaknesses: New song, that I assume many people were not aware of
Strengths: Signature body and outfit; ended strong