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Awards show becomes joyous wake for the late King of Pop

SOME of the entertainment industry's biggest stars turned back into gushing Michael Jackson fans at the BET Awards, donning single gloves, swapping stories about their idol and singing the King of Pop's standards.

In her first public appearance since her brother Michael's death, Janet Jackson memorialized him as her beloved sibling and vowed his memory would live forever.

"To you, Michael is an icon," she told the crowd at the end of Sunday's show. "To us, Michael is family and he will forever live in all of our hearts."

It was a stirring emotional climax for a telecast that was completely revamped to recognize the legacy of Jackson, who died on Thursday at the age of 50. For the most part, it was a joyous wake.

"He's the man who made it possible for me to be on the stage; I love you and I miss you," said Ne-Yo, who sang one of Jackson's most sensual songs, "Lady In My Life."

Host Jamie Foxx kicked off the show with a re-enactment of the choreography from Jackson's iconic "Beat It" video in front of the star-studded crowd, on its feet from the start of the show.

Throughout the night, Foxx also regularly turned up in some of Jackson's signature looks, like the wide-collar black leather outfit from "Billie Jean." Sean Paul, Estelle and Alicia Keys were among the celebrities who at one point donned single gloves as part of their ensembles.

Ciara sang Jackson's humanitarian anthem, "Heal the World," dressed in a jacket that had Jackson's signature military epaulets.

Giving out trophies was an afterthought at the awards which celebrate African Americans and other minorities in the world of entertainment: Honoring Jackson became the show's main focus.

"This is for you, Michael Jackson," said Beyonce, as she took the trophy for best female R&B artist.


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