*Even though the 2011 BET Awards gave props to Patti LaBelle and Steve Harvey, as well as emotional tributes to several stars who passed away, Sunday night’s show belonged to Chris Brown.
The dancer/singer dominated the show with 4 awards and performed twice during the telecast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
It was on the same stage a year ago that he broke down in tears during the BET Awards while doing a tribute to Michael Jackson.
Interestingly a bit of irony ensued and fans were reminded of Brown’s domestic violence conviction when Rihanna was mistakenly announced as the winner of the Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award near the end of the telecast.
Tiffany Green, a fan from Flat Rock, Michigan, was chosen by BET to read the winner’s name from a Sprint Evo tablet. Green first called Brown’s name, but then squinted at the teleprompter before announcing that Rihanna had won.
“Well, that was awkward,” rapper Drake said as he accepted the award for Rihanna, who was not present. Watch:
BET later announced that Brown was indeed the “viewers choice” and not Rihanna.
Stephen Hill, BET’s programming president, took blame backstage for what he called “a human error.” Read more about the incident in a separate report.
Meanwhile, Mary J. Blige set the tone for the performance heavy evening when she opened the show with a pair of hits: “All Night Long” and “Real Love.” Surprise guest Anita Baker joined her on stage, and it was a diva duet as the two sang Baker’s classic, “Caught Up in the Rapture.”
Steve Harvey’s acceptance of the Humanitarian Award was punctuated by a gospel celebration, as Donnie McClurkin, Deitrick Haddon and gospel artist winners Mary Mary gathered to perform “Thank You.”
Following a musical tribute that included Cee Lo Green wearing a Patti LaBelle-inspired headdress and blouse, LaBelle punctuated her own Lifetime Achievement Award win by performing a couple of classics, including her breakthrough hit, “Lady Marmalade.”
Alicia Keys unveiled a brand new song and performed two hits: “Fallin'” and “A Woman’s Worth,” for which she was joined by Bruno Mars.
Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg delivered heartfelt performances as part of a memorial segment that recognized Nate Dogg, Teena Marie, Clarence Clemons and Gil Scott Heron, among others.
The final performance of the night came from across the pond: Beyonce’s headlining set at the Glastonbury Music Festival was beamed into the Shrine Auditorium from England.
Here’s the complete list of winners of the 2011 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles:
Female R&B artist: Rihanna
Male R&B artist: Chris Brown
Female hip-hop artist: Nicki Minaj
Male hip-hop artist: Kanye West
Collaboration: Chris Brown, “Look At Me Now,” feat. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes
New artist: Wiz Khalifa
Group: Diddy Dirty Money
Young Stars award: (tie) Jaden Smith and Willow Smith
Gospel: Mary Mary
Centric award: Marsha Ambrosius
Actress: Taraji P. Henson
Actor: Idris Elba
Movie: “For Colored Girls”
Sportsman of the year: Michael Vick
Sportswoman of the year: Serena Williams
International act, UK: Tinie Tempah
International act, Africa: (tie) 2Face Idibia and D’Banj
Video director of the year: Chris Robinson
Viewers’ choice: Chris Brown, “Look At Me Now”