June 28, 2010
Posted: 10:11 AM ET
by Rochell Thomas
When Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and New Edition were performing tributes to Michael Jackson during last year's BET Awards show, Chris Brown was nowhere to be found, even though many felt he was an obvious choice to honor the fallen legend. Brown's assault on Rihanna several months earlier presumably kept him out of the show.
On Sunday night (June 27), Brown finally got his chance to publicly honor the man he idolized - and while his dancing was flawless, when the time came for him to sing, he simply fell apart.
After being introduced by Jermaine Jackson, Brown beautifully channeled Michael as he danced to "Remember the Time," "Smooth Criminal" and "Billie Jean." Yet when he grabbed a mic to sing "Man in the Mirror," he choked up, visibly weeping.
"I'm gonna make a change for once in my ..." Brown's voice trailed off. He was out of breath and sounded hoarse. Tears stained his cheeks as he paced the stage, holding the microphone by his side. "This ... wind is blowing my ... Who am I to..." He clearly knew the lyrics but they failed to come out.
Brown faded in and out of the song, closing his eyes, grimacing, trying to soldier on. Whether it was the emotion of the moment or the past 16 months, Brown struggled and failed to find his voice, even though the pre-recorded backing vocals played on.
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