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BET Awards: Jamie Foxx, Nicki Minaj win; Justin Timberlake performs with Charlie Wilson

Who won video of the year again?

The BET Awards were barely about the actual awards as wild performances stole the night. They also didn’t present the top honor Sunday.

Janelle Monae ended the three and a half hour-plus event with a top notch performance of “Q.U.E.E.N.” alongside Erykah Badu, who brought a white poodle onstage. It was just one of the night’s best performances, which also featured stolen moments from a seductive Ciara, a slick Miguel, a random — but welcomed — reggae set and a playful Justin Timberlake with an even more playful Charlie Wilson.

Timberlake took a backseat to the soul singer, joining Wilson onstage for a medley of his solo and Gap Band hits.

Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg and India.Arie were also part of the tribute to 60-year-old Wilson, who earned the lifetime achievement award.
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Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Ke$ha and more: On the scene at the annual Clive Davis pre-Grammy bash

It is, historically, the biggest party of Grammy weekend. But Saturday night’s Clive Davis/Recording Academy bash at L.A.’s Beverly Hilton may have also been the night this gala started to move into history, with a new generation of interests taking its place.

The event was studded with the usual stars, each one given the traditional laudatory introduction from Davis himself, who presides from the podium like the industry king he is. Jane Fonda was “matchless.” Jay-Z was “towering.” Les Moonves was a “titan.” For Wyclef Jean, he had “special emotion and pride.” Here and there, small pockets of celebrity glistened: Russell Brand chatted with Adam Lambert and Randy Jackson. Dierks Bentley shared a laugh with Richie Sambora. Katy Perry and Rihanna — whose attendance surprised me, seeing as how her life got really crappy after she left this party last year — bonded in the ladies’ room. Gazing across this savannah of fame from a table in the back, it was possible to believe that, like the Black Eyed Peas keep reminding us, the night was gonna be a good night. READ FULL STORY

The 2009 BET Awards: We live-blogged it!

Update: What a show! It ran long — over three and a half hours — but performances by New Edition, Beyonce, Ne-Yo, and the O’Jays, and a touching surprise appearance by Janet Jackson made the show memorable. Get the full list of winners here, and scroll down to replay our live blog. Beware, West Coasters and TiVo types: Spoilers abound.

The show must go on, say organizers of this weekend’s BET Awards, which now will be dedicated to the memory of Michael Jackson, who died earlier this week at age 50.

Join EW’s Chad Schlegel and special guest Emil Wilbekin, managing editor of ESSENCE.com, as they live-blog the ceremony, hosted by Jamie Foxx. Log on at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday for Chad and Emil’s blow-by-blow report on the proceedings, including star tributes to the late icon and performances by Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo and more.

Scroll down to join the live blog in progress…

'American Idol's' audience is aging: Do guests like Jamie Foxx and Lady GaGa help?

Americanidolgaga_lAmerican Idol undoubtedly became the most popular show on TV because of its cross-generational appeal. But a recent piece in the Los Angeles Times says that appeal may be waning with one coveted demographic in particular: younger viewers. 

Though Idol’s ratings are only down ever-so-slightly (a 10% drop from last year), younger viewers seem to be abandoning the show in droves. The median age of an Idol viewer is now 42.9, more than 11 years older than when the show crowned Kelly Clarkson its first winner.

Even more curious, this past Wednesday’s result show netted a slightly higher rating than the Tuesday’s performance episode. When you look at this season’s roster of guests, it’s not hard to spot something of an identity crisis: Lady GaGa (pictured), Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Miley Cyrus and Flo Rida on one side of the gym; Natalie Cole, Frankie Avalon, Smokey Robinson and Thelma Houston on the other. (Surely these artists appeal to people of all ages, but I implore you to find a teenager who can name a Thelma Houston song, or a 42.9-year-old who knows a GaGa song.) The show has always straddled the line between venerable legends and of-the-moment artists before, but never has it seemed so blatant, or desperate.

So what do these numbers really mean (if anything)? Could it really be that Adam Lambert’s most ardent fans may actually be hordes of mothers who turn flush every time he struts on stage for one of his freak shows, telephone in-hand, ready and waiting to dial on his behalf? (For the record, I mean ‘freak show’ in the best way possible. Really I do.)

The aging Idol viewer could also explain why spunky teenager Allison Iraheta has found a semi-frequent home in the bottom three: younger voters simply do not have her back. They’re not as interested as they were when they texted their hearts out for Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood. The show has always imposed an age limit, presumably in an effort to cater to the young folks. Given the show’s aging audience, and the simple fact we live in apost-Susan Boyle world, why not — as my colleague Leah Greenblattsuggested — open up the show up to the over-30?

Time to weigh in, Mixers: Are American Idol’s attempts to stay hip in booking the Kanye’s and GaGa’s of the world enough to gloss over the fact the show still has dated themes like "Disco Night" and "Songs from the Year You Were Born"? What do you think Idol can do to win back younger viewers? Does it need them to stay viable?

More on American Idol from EW’s Music Mix:
Daughtry to debut ‘No Surprise’ on Wednesday’s ‘Idol’
Apples in Stereo frontman talks ‘Idol’ cover, next album
‘American Idol’ and Apples in Stereo: weird-good or weird-bad?
Jason Castro talks about his debut album — and reveals his ‘Idol’ picks
Kelly Clarkson, Mandy Moore and Black Eyed Peas: New videos!
American Idol’s Adam Lambert and Antony Hegarty: Musical kin?

addCredit(“Michael Becker/Fox”)

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