Beyond the major acting awards and an occasional streaker or two, the Oscars are mostly an endless parade of corny jokes and forced sentimentality.
The Grammys and the Emmys are the same, just on a lesser scale. The MTV Awards jumped the shark a long time ago.
The ESPYs are as stiff as a board and at least three times as dull.
However, there is one awards ceremony out there that actually seems to be thriving in this era of creatively-bankrupt honors – the BET Awards. Last Sunday’s 2012 Awards proved to be a massive smash, garnering 7.4 million viewers and taking over Twitter and the other social-media networks.
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Why have the BET Awards proved to be so watchable when everything else is so dry?
It’s easy. The BET Awards have something the other ceremonies seem to have forgotten about – a pure, endlessly accessible sense of fun that the Oscars, Emmys and everything else seems to have forgotten about, right along with their time limits. The BET Awards are snappy and entertaining and – best of all – full of tremendous performers. Just take a look at the amazing roster of talent that showed up Sunday before last.
D’Angelo coming out of wherever he’d been to do “Untitled (How Does it Feel).” Usher dropping “Climax” on everyone. Maze and Faith Evans bringing the 1990s back. Chaka Khan bringing the 1970s back. Tynga and Cash Out bringing the show out in style. Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown doing their hits. Samuel L. Jackson proving to be a capable host, and Jay-Z and Kanye riffing on Kanye’s infamous award-show antics.
Best of all, though, was a stirring tribute to Whitney Houston, featuring Brandy’s excellent covers of two of her songs (“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “I’m Your Baby” tonight) and her mother, Cissy, bringing down the house with an amazing version of “Bridge over Troubled Water.” All the other awards ceremonies could take a hint from how the BET Awards organized their tributes – and everything else the ceremony does right.