It takes quite a distraction to make a TV director barely afford Cee-Lo Green any close-ups during his own performance. But what's a camera crew to do when Cee-Lo so willingly gives up the spotlight to a breakdancer who's doing all his hoofing on a single leg?
Cee-Lo was actually doing a lot of sharing at the Billboard Awards, since the performance was by his reunited hip-hop group, Goodie Mob. When they premiered their comeback single, "Fight to Win," on The Voice in April, the primary visual effect was Green's artificially illuminated teeth. But for Sunday night's kudocast, they brought along Jeak Sok, a one-legged dancer who's touring in Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson-themed show.
Sok dressed up as a soldier for the occasion, in what implicitly seemed like a tribute to the armed forces who've had to discover new avenues of physicality after battle-related amputations. But the military theme didn't quite hold through Goodie Mob's entire medley, as "Fight to Win" segued into a cover of the Beastie Boys" "Fight for Your Right to Party," as a tribute to the Boys' late Adam Yauch, or MCA.
Yok fought for his right to steal the show for several minutes, first sharing the main stage with Goodie Mob, then making his way through the MGM Grand crowd to a center stage, where he continued to dazzle by twirling himself around his crutches in a variety of creative ways that blurred the line between disability and super-powers.
Either ironically or deliberately -- it's hard to tell which-- one of the members of Goodie Mob, Khujo, lost a leg himself back in 2002 after an automobile accident, although any connection between Khujo and Yok was left to be imagined by the collective's more knowledgeable fans.
The Vietnamese-born Yok is a member of the French breakdance crew Bboy Hourth. He's been racking up great reviews this past year on the Cirque road show that's officially dubbed "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour." Entertainment Weekly called him "one of the most show-stopping performers (and audience favorites)." Said the Las Vegas weekly Vegas Seven, "Perhaps one of the best examples of how Cirque manifests Jackson's performance legacy is Jean Sok 'B.Boy Hourth.' He's an artist who brilliantly executes all the legendary moves … with only one leg. Harkening back to the message of one of Jackson's biggest hits, 'Heal the World,' he's still doing it, one step at a time."