Chris Brown kicked off the BET Awards with a medley of his new songs and Robin Thicke was joined by Pharrell and T.I. when he sang his international No. 1 hit, "Blurred Lines."
The R&B singers were early performers at Sunday's show. Minaj joined Brown, and BET couldn't bleep some of the rapper's expletives — much like the awards show last year.
Miguel won the night's first award, best male R&B pop artist, beating out Brown, Usher, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars.
"I got to really give it up to all the other guys in this category," the singer said.
Don Cheadle presented Miguel with the award, and dedicated the night to the ailing Nelson Mandela.
"We want to take a moment and send our prayers and thoughts to a man who literally changed the world," he said. "This evening we would like offer prayers and support and hope to the extraordinary Nelson Mandela and his family."
Kendrick Lamar, who is expected to perform, won best new artist, but didn't make it to the stage to collect the trophy. He, along with 2 Chainz, are the second most nominated acts behind Drake, who is up for 12 honors, including five nominations for video of the year, which has 10 nominees.
His own hits — "Started from the Bottom" and "HYFR" — are up for the top prize, as well as his guest appearances on 2 Chainz's "No Lie," A$AP Rocky's "(Expletive) Problems" and Lamar's "Poetic Justice." Other video of the year nominees are Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie," Rihanna's "Diamonds," ''Adorn" by Miguel, Kanye West's "Mercy" and "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
While 26-year-old Drake is mostly battling himself for the night's top award, some of his friends (and enemies) already blazed the stage, including Minaj and Brown. Minaj, who has won best female hip-hop artist for three consecutive years, is up for the honor again with little competition.
But the animated rapper isn't the only diva taking the stage: Mariah Carey is also set to sing her latest single, "#Beautiful," with Miguel.
Justin Timberlake, who has four nominations including best male R&B artist and best collaboration for "Suit & Tie" with Jay-Z, will also perform. Other performers include Stevie Wonder, R. Kelly, India.Arie, Ciara and Robin Thicke, who's "Blurred Lines" is spending its third week on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Timberlake, Drake, Lamar, Rocky, Miguel and Rihanna will compete for the fan-voted viewer's choice award. Charlie Wilson will earn the lifetime achievement award and Dwyane Wade, who recently won the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat, will receive the humanitarian award.
Chris Tucker is the show's host.
Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter: twitter.com/MusicMesfin
- Arts & Entertainment
- Justin Timberlake
- Robin Thicke
- Nelson Mandela