R&B crooner let his vocals do the dancing with a simple, stripped-down performance.
By Kelley L. Carter
<P>With two spotlights shining down on him, a sleeveless <MTVNLINK type="artist" id="1270">Usher</MTVNLINK> belted out the first notes of his summer hit, "Climax," at Sunday's <a href="http://www.bet.com/shows/bet-awards/2012.html" target="_blank">2012 BET Awards</a>.</P><P>The R&B crooner stood center stage, wearing all black, save for a pair of hot-colored shoes, and sang the ballad with the electro-beat from his seventh studio album, <i>Looking 4 Myself,</i> in front of a live band. Some wicked, black-and-white animation danced behind him on a large screen that backlit the auditorium.</P><P>This was the first time Usher has performed at the awards show since 2010, where he also sang another ballad, "There Goes My Baby," from his <i>Raymond v. Raymond</i> album.</P><P><object width='440' height='360' id='kickWidget_176704_509145' name='kickWidget_176704_509145' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' data='http://serve.a-widget.com/service/getWidgetSwf.kickAction'> <param name='movie' value='http://serve.a-widget.com/service/getWidgetSwf.kickAction'></param> <param name='FlashVars' value='preselectedPlaylistItem=guid_2243923589&affiliateSiteId=176704&widgetId=509145&width=440&height=360&noScale=1&playOnLoad=0&mediaURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bet.com%2Fvideo%2Fbetawards%2F2012%2Fperformances%2Fplaylist%2F_jcr_content%2Fleftcol%2Fvideoplaylist.mrss%3Fpt%3DEmbedFullPage%26type%3Dembedplaylist%26ordts%3Dy%3Ftype%3Dembedplaylist%26pt%3Dembedplaylist%26&revision=178&autoPlay=0' ></param> <param name='wmode' value='transparent' ></param><param name='allowFullScreen' value='true' ></param> <param name='allowScriptAccess' value='always' ></param></object></P><P>The Sunday night (July 1) performance came in the first half-hour of the show and was apropos, considering that Usher's latest studio album is topping <i>Billboard</i>'s charts for the second week in a row (and his fourth #1-debuting album in a row). The dance-friendly album was just released last month. "Climax" hit #17 on the singles chart, while second track "Scream" has peaked at #13.</P><P>For his BET Awards performance, the multiplatinum, multi-Grammy-winning R&B singer kept it fairly muted. Save for a few quick microphone movements, he let his vocals dance during the performance. Even his attire was muted compared to what we've seen Usher turn out at awards shows in years past; a lone, shiny timepiece decorated his wrist.</P><P>Usher concluded his performance with a quick wave of his hand to the fans down in front.</P><P><b>Stick with MTV News as we bring you all the scoop from the <a href="http://www.bet.com/shows/bet-awards/2012.html" target="_blank">2012 BET Awards</a>, including winners and must-see performances!</b></P>Related Photos