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Keith Sweat

Keith Sweat

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None of the performers on the show mentioned the questions that surround Jackson's death or the controversies that clouded the singer during much of his career.However, during a commercial break, Foxx referenced what he felt was negative media coverage of Jackson.

"I need you to focus," Foxx said to the audience.

"The media out there is trying to do a number on my man."But when Jackson was mentioned during the show, the emphasis was on his legacy and groundbreaking achievements.

Preparations and rehearsals for the show were well underway Thursday when news came of the singer's death.

"When we heard .



we knew immediately that we would have to change the nature of the show," said BET Chairman Debra L.


She thanked the BET staff and employees for their efforts in turning the show around.

Several clips from Jackson's videos were featured.A large portion of the show appeared to go ahead as planned.

Beyoncé sang a song medley that included "Ave Maria" while bathed in fog and laser light in a production number that failed to register with the audience.An "old school" tribute featuring Keith Sweat and Guy excited the audience.

And Foxx took several opportunities to plug his album and upcoming tour.But the show's closing moments were about missing Michael.

Foxx was joined by Ne-Yo in singing "I'll Be There" in the final salute.--Greg BraxtonRelated: BET Awards: Best & WorstRelated: BET Awards: Grading the performancesRelated: BET Awards arrivals 2009Photos: Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx, top left, and Beyonce, center.

Credit: Jay L.

Clenenin / Los Angeles Times,0,1247426.story
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