BET Awards wrap-up: You wish you were Alicia Keys’ piano

Later today, I’m going to transfer last night’s BET Awards from my DVR to a DVD and then I’m going to make seven copies and send them to The Oscars, The Emmys, The Golden Globes, The Screen Actor’s Guild, The VMAs and the MTV Music Awards with a note: "This is how you make an awards show!"

Last night’s BET Awards were book-ended by royalty: It opened with host Queen Latifah and closed with a tribute to Prince, who accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award wearing a shirt with a cartoon picture of himself on it. But really, the entire pyrotechnic pageant was a celebration of hip-hop and R&B nobility, with performances so smashing and so grand that it was hard to remember if they’d given out any awards by the time it was over.

They did, of course, and here’s how they shook down:

Alicia Keys, who hopped up onto her piano and crawled across it while four months pregnant (somehow managing to remain crazy sexy), took home the Best Female R&B Artist award and Best Collaboration with Jay-Z for "Empire State of Mind."

Nicki Minaj, who went through more costume changes than Queen Latifah, won Best New Artist and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.

Precious swept the film honors, taking home Best Movie, while Mo’Nique won for Best Actress. And Lady Gaga
and Beyonce
won Best Video for "Telephone." Neither were on hand to accept the award, but Lady Gaga wasted no time thanking her fans 

At this point, my words are just getting in the way of the photos of the performances.

Nia Long had a Love Jones flashback with Larenz Tate (how have neither of them aged at all?!) that was the sexiest thing of the night after Alicia Keys on the piano.

Patti LaBelle kicked off her mothereffin’ shoes during her cover of "Purple Rain."

Queen Latifah re-costumed herself as several of her former characters, including Cleo from Set It Off, causing Twitter to go nuts and call it her Coming Out Party. (It didn’t help that she said is always surrounded by beautiful women.)

Also, Jada Pinkett Smith and Ciara just wanted to make sure you got a good look at their legs.

Oh, and so did Lisa Leslie and Vivica A. Fox.

Did you watch the BET Awards? What was your favorite performance of the night?

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