From left, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson perform onstage at the BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, June 30, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP)
A strong lineup of R&B and hip-hop’s biggest stars took the stage on Sunday for the 2013 BET Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
This year’s festivities were not so much about sweeping winners as they were about the show-stopping performances from music’s hottest acts.
R&B legend Charlie Wilson celebrated his Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award in style, performing a memorable medley with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and long-time friend Snoop Lion. From Wilson's swoon-worthy performance of "You Are" to the group's rendition of "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," the crowd was up from their seats and jiving to this unforgettable set.
The guest of honor, adorned in a sharp, printed red blazer, even had the likes of India.Arie, Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder serenading him with beautiful renditions of his solo and Gap Band classic hits.
Smooth crooner (and occasional drop-kicker) Miguel went home with the Male R&B/Pop Artist Award, and later rocked his chinchilla coat in a falsetto-flowing performance of his single “How Many Drinks?” with Kendrick Lamar. The "Adorn" vocalist also had the crowd singing along to his insanely catchy verse in J.Cole's "Power Trip" performance.
Lamar snagged the Male Hip-Hop Artist and Best New Artist Awards, subsequently tieing with Drake as the night's biggest winners with three awards a piece. Despite acquiring 12 nominations this year, Drake was not in attendance at the awards ceremony, explaining on Twitter that he is busy wrapping up a new album in the studio. However, there is speculation that he decided to skip this year's show to avoid more ongoing drama with Chris Brown.
Pharrell returned to the stage, this time with Robin Thicke and T.I. for a red-hot performance of their summer hit "Blurred Lines," complete with dancing ladies and red hashtags similar to the single's controversial music video.
The evening wasn't just a boys’ show: the ladies of the night also took the stage with powerful panache.
While many question whether or not Mariah Carey was lip-synching during her otherwise enjoyable performance of “#Beautiful,” R&B singer Ciara got generally positive reviews for her sultry performances. After a snippet of upcoming single “I’m Out” with Nicki Minaj, the singer gave an impressive, pop-and-locking performance of latest hit “Body Party,” which arguably gave other R&B acts a run for their money.
To end on an empowering note, tuxedo-donning songstress Janelle Monae closed the show with her latest single "Q.U.E.E.N.," featuring Erykah Badu and a cameo from an adorable poodle.
Host Chris Tucker naturally cracked a handful of jokes throughout the evening, and even included a light-hearted tribute to Michael Jackson in his comedic gag.
When he wasn’t emanating the King of Pop’s signature dance moves, Tucker poked fun at himself regarding his $11 million tax evasion scandal, urging the audience to pay their taxes in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
North Philly’s own Kevin Hart also provided a few laughs and had the audience in stitches when Tucker was not on stage.
The Real Husbands of Hollywood star called for the audience to “turn up” before presenting the Best Actor Award to Jamie Foxx. He even squeezed in a quip about Minaj’s derriere, which garnered a playful side-eye from the Female Hip-Hop Artist Award winner.
Award shows tend to leave a trail of drama and controversy afterwards, but this year's BET Awards was a true winner with lots to cheer about.