Ranking All 10 BET Honors Performances: Smokey Rocks, Mariah Shocks
The BET Honors committee spared no expense aligning the right performers for the celebratory event. Considering the magnitude of the music figures being honored in song – icons Aretha Franklin and Berry Gordy – meeting the high standards was clearly the only way to go.
Below, we rank the night's 10 acts:
1. Karen Clark-Sheard: "Amazing Grace"
BET wanted to remind viewers that while Aretha Franklin is the undisputed Queen of Soul, her roots are in the church. Gospel icon Karen Clark-Sheard kicked off Aretha's tribute with a rousing rendition of the famous hymn "Amazing Grace." Kierra Sheard's mother put on a foot-stomping show that left everyone in awe, especially when she made an echoing sound effect during her closing. Vocal powerhouse Ledisi paid homage via Twitter:
Mrs. Karen Clark-Sheard 3secs in and I was done!Saaaaaaaaagah!!!MyGAWD!!— ledisi (@ledisi) February 25, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Musician Karen Clark Sheard performs onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/BET/Getty Images for BET)
2. Smokey Robinson: "Tracks of My Tears"
Smokey moved the audience with his melodic offering of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles's "Tracks of My Tears." But the showstopper was his personal tribute to his best friend, honoree and Motown founder Berry Gordy. Smokey's heartfelt song about Berry's impact and success brought to tears the iconic executive who Russell Simmons said "made us."
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Musician Smokey Robinson performs onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/BET/Getty Images for BET)
3. Jennifer Hudson: "Rock Steady," "You Better Think," "Respect," "Daydreaming," "Natural Woman"
The audience received a noticeable energy boost when Jennifer Hudson was called to the stage for the Aretha Franklin tribute. Jennifer had the longest set of the night, performing a mini concert of some of Aretha's biggest hits. Jennifer was phenomenal and has been inundated with praise.
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Musician Jennifer Hudson performs onstage at BET Honors 2014 at Warner Theatre on February 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/BET/Getty Images for BET)
4. Janelle Monae: "Want You Back," "ABC"
Janelle Monae was a fitting choice to perform Jackson 5's "Want You Back" and "ABC" during the salute to Motown. Janelle's footwork hearkens back to the J5 era and she tweaked the pitch of her voice to emulate Michael Jackson and was lively and entertaining.