The two biggest performances at last night's BET Awards '12 lived up to their pre-show hype with the touching Whitney Houston tribute and the tantalizing return of D'Angelo to our television screens. As expected, D'Angelo delivered and then some with an abbreviated performance of his sensual hit "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" and a balls-out jam session on the new song, "Sugar Daddy."
Since January we've been delighted with bootleg video clips of D'Angelo live and in living color from various tour dates abroad but there's nothing like seeing him in HD on a widescreen television, which we had the chance to do last night. D looked good, with his hair forming a kinky halo around his head and his cut biceps on display. Yes, he's still fine, but, more importantly, he can still sing, which he did with ease as if this hiatus he's been on for the past decade and change never happened.
The performance was dope no doubt, but two things irked me: the lack of an announcement/introduction and the audience's ass-to-seat ratio.
Between Samuel L. Jackson, MC Lyte, Terrence J., Rocsi or Donnie Simpson, someone could have introduced D'Angelo's performance. Considering that it wasn't a surprise, that's the least that BET could have done to herald this occasion and to let the disciples of Mindless Behavior know that they were about to witness real music. As it stands, I stepped away from the TV to get a cool drink and talk on the phone and missed the very beginning of D'Angelo's performance, but thank goodness for my DVR.
And while I was in my living room giving D'Angelo a standing ovation for bringing the funk, I noticed that there were way too many people in the audience at The Shrine Auditorium sitting in their seats. Besides Beyoncé and Solange, I could almost count how many people were standing and paying D his due respect. I was truly at a loss why there were so many people sitting down for this to have been the talk of the town leading up to the ceremony.
Those two minor gripes aside, D'Angelo did what he set out to do and gave fans a performance that has gotten people talking -- and wanting that third album now more than ever.