After opening the 2013 BET Awards weekend with the inauguration of the BET Experience (which included the official kick off of the North American leg of Beyoncé's Mrs. Carter World Tour, a celebrity basketball game with Chris Brown, and a "No Guns Allowed" panel with Snoop Lion and T.I.), the actual Sunday night show proved that with that much star power in one place, certainly #AnythingCanHappen.
Brown, the FANdemonium Award winner, started the show with a medley of new songs including his newly released "They Don't Know," featuring the angelic vocals of Aaliyah. He also delivered the first surprise guest appearance of the night, bringing out Nicki Minaj.
The YMCMB first lady took home the Female Hip Hop Artist award, but not before also joining Ciara on stage to a hot verse on CiCi's "I'm Out," and turning up in the audience during the dancehall set, which included Dawn Penn, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Beenie Man and Elephant Man.
Double- and triple-duty performances became a theme for the night. For example, easing any worry in the front row that he might do some leg-dropping, Miguel politely sat on stage while he and Mariah Carey performed "Beautiful" (with a surprise appearance and new verse from Young Jeezy).
"Had to sit my a-- down for that MC performance tho. I know you saw it lmao," he Tweeted.
The "Adorn" singer then offered his own electrifying set, including three-time winner Kendrick Lamar (New Artist, Male Hip Hop Artist, and Collaboration); and returned again for J. Cole's "Power Trip" performance.
Lamar also returned to the stage to join 2 Chainz and A$AP Rocky for a "(F------) Problems" rendition, and for his own set, during which he surprisingly brought out Erykah Badu. Badu sang the hook for his "B---- Don't Kill My Vibe" and then later helped to close out the show with a white poodle (although host Chris Tucker did tell everyone not to bring any animals on stage) and Janelle Monáe, who rapped and sang her way through a rendition of "Q.U.E.E.N."
Despite all of those surprises, the highlight of the evening was the Charlie Wilson tribute, during which Uncle Charlie himself performed, delivering the clearest vocals of the night alongside Pharrell, Snoop and Justin Timberlake.
"Charlie Wilson is soul music," Timberlake said before presenting Wilson with the Lifetime Achievement Award. "His impact colors the work of many artists, which is basically my nice way of saying I and a lot of other artists have stolen from him."
Noticeably missing was Drake, who led in nominations with 12. His "Started From the Bottom" ultimately earned him Video of the Year and the Coca-Cola Viewer's Choice Award. "Thank you to BET and to the fans for voting!" he tweeted. "I'm home finishing the album and spending time w/ family before we begin our journey Sept 17."
For the full list of BET Awards 2013 winners, click here and be sure to catch the first encore airing, Tuesday, July 2, 6:30P/5:30C!
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(Photos form left to right: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BET, Mark Davis/Getty Images for BET)
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