It’s been a minute since we live-blogged an awards show around these parts. I gave some consideration to doing some commentary on the Billboard Music Awards, but got pulled into another direction-a move that turned out to be a wise one (since all of the clips I saw from the show and all of the commentary I saw on social media was lukewarm.) I have a love-hate relationship with the BET Awards (to say nothing of my largely HATE relationship with BET itself), but last year’s show was surprisingly solid. Big nominees this year include Chris Brown, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake and Rihanna. Considering his near-improbable commercial comeback this year (and because everyone loves a comeback, no matter who the entity making the comeback is), I’d expect CB to pick up mucho hardware tonight, something that may turn out to be as hard to watch as his crocodile tear-stained performance at last year’s ceremony.

Brown will also perform at the show, as will Beyonce (who is omnipresent as the release date for her new album nears), Alicia Keys and Marsha Ambrosius. Steve Harvey and Patti LaBelle will be this year’s special honorees, and it’s also worth wondering which surprise acts they will bring out to perform a la El DeBarge last year.

Also potentially making it difficult to watch: the screechy Kevin Hart is hosting. They couldn’t bring Latifah back?

7:57: Just about to switch over from watching TV One’s Unsung, which featured Alexander O’ Neal & Cherrelle. Need some real soul to tide me over before this show and all of it’s foolishness. Oh, am I already being negative?

8:00– Mary’s opening the stage with a little My Life flavor. Damn, 40 looks good on that woman. Remember back in the days when you had to worry about whether a Mary J. live performance would be a trainwreck or not? Worry no more!

8:02– Oh shit! B.I.G.’s “Dreams”! Is Brooklyn in the house? Then “Real Love”? It’s 1992 again! I’m in the zone!

8:04– And…she brings out Detroit’s finest, Anita Baker, to sing “Caught Up in the Rapture”. Trivia factoid: this is the song that got Mary her record deal.

Random question: has anyone ever seen Anita Baker and Michael McDonald in the same room together?

8:06– You’ve got to give it up to Mary J. She acknowledges her predecessors more than any other artist in contemporary music.

Here comes DJ Khaled and Jadakiss-time to tune out.

Why does everyone in the audience look like they need some caffeine? Or some coke?

8:08-Mary just hit a FOUL note. Old Mary ain’t totally gone just yet.

8:09-Dancing kids-bringing out the gimmicks already? This is gonna be a long night for Kevin Hart. Seriously, they couldn’t find a better host? I’m pretty sure Bernie Mac’s corpse could have done a better job than Kevin Hart is going to.

8:12– Spliff Star is still hanging with Busta Rhymes? That’s dedication. #Guylove

8:14-OK, Kevin Hart got a couple jokes on Ne-Yo’s head. If he didn’t, I was going to.

8: 16: Taraji P. Henson is presenting the first award. BET is getting high-tech and getting rid of the envelopes. She just made an Anthony Weiner joke-FAIL.

Best Male Singer Nominees are…Chris Brown, Cee-Lo, Bruno Mars, Trey Songz and Usher. This one is CB all the way. Does he deserve it? No. But…

CB wins.

Damn, didn’t people used to dress up for award shows?

Random sidebar: Isn’t Missy Elliott’s Behind the Music airing tonight? In which she talks about her battle with Graves Disease and being molested as a child but doesn’t talk about being a lesbian? Just askin’…

8:25: DJ Khaled has already performed (excuse me, “performed”) on this show twice. Why? He’s neither black nor entertaining.

Isn’t Drake in the audience? Why isn’t he performing on stage to his own song?

Since that was probably the only part of the song that could potentially be entertaining, I’m tuning out now.

8:30-Should someone tell Rick Ross to keep his shirt on? Someone should also tell rappers that they shouldn’t need a backup vocal track to assist them.

8:32-Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner are on stage to present. Thank you for bringing some class to the proceedings. They’re presenting the Young Stars award…AKA, the Willow Smith Award.

Jaden and Willow tie for the award. Think that was engineered? Nah, couldn’t be #blatantsarcasm

You think Will’s oldest kid gets jealous?

8:39-Kevin Hart just broke out a Jaden Smith joke. Will just gave the fakest laugh in the history of fake laughs.

8:40-This “Real Husbands of Atlanta” thing is pretty damn funny. Nick Cannon in the house! I give Kevin Hart his propers for this one.

8:41-Keri Hilson & Laz Alonzo are presenting the next award. Laz takes immediate precautions to preserve his masculinity by referencing Keri’s heels-apparently the only reason she’s taller than him. They’re presenting Best Female Hip-Hop Artist. Who ARE these people? Well, except for Nicki Minaj, I mean.

Cymphonique wins!

Psych. Even Keri says this one was a gimme.

8:44: Nicki says “I can’t believe I won”. The crowd cracks up. C’mon, you can’t sell this, woman.

8:46: Here comes Jilly from Philly…is this a “Lady Sings the Blues” homage or something? Either way, there’s never any question as to whether she’s gonna bring it live.

If Jill’s bra strap popped, how many people do you think would be injured?

8:50: Oh, that dude is Idris Elba? My bad! #popculturefail

8:56: Question-why would anyone buy a book written by Steve Harvey?

Oh shit-they brought The Five Heartbeats out? Nice job!They should’ve taken a little more time with the choreography. And After 7 comes from behind the curtain to sing “Nights Like This”. Kevon Edmonds-very underrated vocalist.

Damn-Leon has not aged a year. Must be a thing about having one name.

They’re presenting the Best Group Award. Nominees are Cali Swag District, Diddy-Dirty Money, N.E.R.D., New Boyz and Travis Porter. Talk about another unnecessary category. Diddy wins.

9:00 One of the Dirty Money chicks almost has a wardrobe malfunction. That would’ve been interesting.

9:01: Marsha Ambrosius is introducing Music Matters new artists, like she was last year. I am going to go to the bathroom now.

9:07: …and when I came back, there was a pagebreak.

9:08: Chris Brown is performing, and he’s wearing…well, I don’t know what that is.

It was a suit, but it looked like he’d shoplifted half a grocery store and stuck the contents in his pants. Thankfully, it’s been removed  as he’s transitioned from “She Ain’t You” to “Look At Me Now”

9:10: Chris and Busta Rhymes. They were made for one another.

That was a very uninspiring, lazy performance. Chris can certainly do better than that.

9:12: Next award is being presented by some cast members from “The Game”, Dude on the left looks exactly like Q-Tip. #popculturetwins?

They’re announcing the Best Collaboration Award, which Chris Brown will most likely win as well. Then again, he’s nominated twice-maybe he’ll cancel himself out? Interestingly, Rih-Rih is nominated twice as well.

Chris wins again. Sigh. I’m all about forgiving, but not so sure I’m cool with forgiving without any real contrition on the part of the perpetrator. Ah well.

9:21: Dear Chris Rock Kevin Hart, you do not have to ask about the energy level in the room every time you come back from commercial.

9:22: Alicia Keys is performing a song from the 10th anniversary reissue of Songs in A Minor. She lost the baby tummy, but kept the baby booty. Pla-TOW!!

9:23: She’s performing “A Woman’s Worth” with Bruno Mars. Dude is crazy talented, but his vocals always sound strained when he performs on TV. Anyone know how his live show is?

9: 25: Alicia just brought Rick Ross out. #Fail

And she’s singing “Fallin'” for the 11,000,000th time.

9:28: So, when does Justin Bieber hit puberty?

9:29: And do you think Nicki could take Selena Gomez out? She’d fuck him up, mess his head up and have him winning championships and talking shit like Dirk Nowitzki #sistapower

9:30: Biebs and Nicki present the Best Male Hip-Hop Artist to Kanye West, who-in a rarity for an award show-isn’t in attendance.

9:36: OK, I give. I don’t know who this Big Sean guy is. Is he a Kanye protege? He looks like one. Isn’t it sad when you can tell what a follower of someone looks like? Well, except for maybe Prince proteges. Because at least then you’d at least know you were getting chicks in lingerie. Wait, I’m gay. Never mind.

Chris Brown is performing with this Big Sean guy. Automatic tune-out.

9:40:  Do they make Xtra Small shirts? Because that’s probably what Big Sean is wearing. And that shit’s way too bug for him. He looks like Jimmie Walker.

Johnny Gill is on the stage!! Releasing new music for the first time since 1996! Comes out in September-buy it!

JG is introducing a new artist named Kimberly Nichole. She’s wearing a…tutu? A variation of that Bjork swandress? But she’s got a big rock ‘n roll voice. Whatever happened to real black women who weren’t afraid to wail over screaming guitars? We need more Tina Turners. More old-school Patti LaBelles. Hell, more Poly Styrenes.

9:47: OK, they need to turn this “Real Husbands of Hollywood” thing into a series.

9:48: Out come Cherrelle and Alexander O’ Neal to perform “Saturday Love” . BET fucked their track up. Sorry, TVONE did it better.

9:50: Alex and Cherrelle are announcing the Best New Artist nominees. Nominees are Willow, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole (he doesn’t have an album yet!), Miguel and Bruno Mars.

Wiz is with Amber Rose. OK, NOW I know why Kanye isn’t here.

Next random question: why does every song in a car commercial sound like “1901” by Phoenix?

9:56: MC Lyte usually over-enunciates, but I don’t know who this chick is that just came out on stage. She’s introducing Trey Songz, who will hopefully improve greatly on his bad “Purple Rain”-interpolating performance from last year.

Less than a minute in, Trey is already shirtless. Predictable.

That said, in terms of musical ability, Trey > Chris Brown.

Uh-oh, I think I just got tossed in Twitter jail. Trey just brought Kelly Rowland out. She’s got some serious Janet-isms going on right now with the choreography. She sounds great, too (I wasn’t paying enough attention to see whether she was lip-synching or not, but if so, that puts her in the same league as Janet). Maybe she’s got a good album in her? Maybe?

WAIT, that was NIA LONG??? *rubs eyes*

10:05: Debra Lee is presenting the Humanitarian Award to Steve Harvey. Thank goodness he’s wearing a relatively understated suit.

10:11: Eloquent speech by Steve Harvey, and the brother does a lot of good. Props to him.

Can y’all tell I’m losing steam?

10:16: It’s the incredible shrinking Al Sharpton. Did he go on one of those crazy Dick Gregory diets?

Donnie Closet Case McClurkin is performing. I can’t take this seriously.

10:19: Gospel performance. Lots of unnecessary screaming. Someone give me Aretha. Or Mary J. Or Patti. Or Mavis Staples. I can’t.

10:21: Toni Braxton and her four twin sisters are presenting the next award. They’re also singing acapella. And they sound GOOD! They present the Best Gospel award to Mary Mary.

Wow, the Mo’nique show stays bringing those C-List guests, huh?

10:27: And here comes Gladys Knight, getting ready to present Patti LaBelle with the Lifetime Achievement award. I know you guys remember “Sisters in the Name of Love” with Gladys, Patti and Dionne Warwick.

10:31: I often wonder if anyone’s been clocked in the eye with a Patti heel when she kicks her shoes off on stage.

10:32: Cee-Lo is singing “Somebody Loves you” with a Patti wig on!!!! This totally works, too!!

10:34: Marsha Ambrosius is singing “If Only you Knew”. Late Nights & Early Mornings is the R&B album of the year so far. I love that little tremble/hiccup in her voice.

10:37:  Holy crap (in this case, quite literally), Reverend Shirley Caesar does NOT age.

10:42: I’ve gotta say, there’s a part of me that’ll always think of Patti as Dwayne Wayne’s mom.

10: 43: Who kicked off the black nose job craze? Was it Patti, MJ or Stephanie Mills?

10:46: You knew Patti wasn’t gonna NOT sing, right? I need to see Patti the next time she’s nearby.

10:49:  This woman has still got it. And she’s never gonna lose it. She’s singing the funk out of “Lady Marmalade”. And just for the record, this is WAY better than the tribute she got from Ginuwine, Tyrese, Johnny Gill and El DeBarge a few years back.

10:56: So, if the last performance of the night contains Rick Ross, Lil Wayne or DJ Khaled, I’m turning the TV off.

Terence and Rocsi are announcing the Viewer’s Choice award. The person reading the award just announced the wrong winner? Of course, they announced Chris Brown and the winner was…Rihanna. Awkward much??

10:58: They’re tributing the people who passed away this year, starting with Clarence Clemons, who I doubt 95% of the people in this audience know. Onto Nate Dogg, with Snoop and Warren G. They should bring out Michael McDonald.

11:01: Queen Latifah (?) is tributing Gil-Scott Heron with “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”.

11:02: Is that Ledisi? She’s tributing Teena Marie. Sounding good, too! With “Out on a Limb”, too. One of her lesser-known songs.

11:04: Damn, sista did Lady T justice. Might need to check out that new album.

Random thought: Didn’t Rick Ross steal his whole fat-dude taking his shirt off thing from Cee-Lo?

11:10: Wiz Khalifa’s jeans are a little too tight. Where do you put your penis?

11:12: DJ Khaled, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne are back. I just don’t get it.

11:16: Beyonce is being beamed in from England for her performance, which was presented by a (thankfully) hat-wearing Ne-Yo.

I wonder how much money she spends on wind machines.

11:18: This “Best Thing I Never Had” song is pretty OK.

11:23-I don’t know if the whole show is over, but it’s over FOR ME. I wonder how BET will explain the Chris Brown/Rihanna snafu. Either way, a relatively uneventful show. Best performances? Jill Scott, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Miss Patti. Conspicuous in their absence? Kanye, Jay-Z (wouldn’t this have been an ideal venue to promote Watch the Throne?), Rihanna. Unwatchable? Anything that featured Rick Ross, Lil Wayne or DJ Khaled. I’m out…till next year!

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