'A Very BET Christmas' Was Very Good

Veteran vocalists and rising stars united last night for A Very BET
, mixing a lot of old with a little new. Without a teardrop tattoo or gold grill in sight, viewers were treated to stripped-down interpretations of holiday classics from SoulBounce-approved artists. Jazmine Sullivan got
things started with a powerful take on "Have Yourself a Merry Little
Christmas," setting the tone for the night. I've yet to see her deliver
anything less than an amazing performance. She was followed by sweet-voiced panty-dropper El DeBarge, who performed the original composition "Christmas
Without You"
from his latest album Second Chance, followed by "Silent Night." New Christmas songs are often a hard sell compared to nostalgic, proven standards, but El brings it home here.

Keri Hilson came down from her crotch-thrusting handstand long enough to give yet another
lukewarm performance, this time, of "The Christmas Song." Remind me to ask that Santa dude to bring her a self-awareness-filled Gucci purse and a stocking full of modesty. I was impressed with Ne-Yo's "This Christmas/The First Noel." He proved that he's capable of more than mimicking Michael
. Though his voice is sometimes an acquired taste and he takes himself quite seriously, it was good to see him without smoke machines and dance breaks.

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I never thought I'd say this, but my future wife, Sandra Huxtable Marsha Ambrosius overdid it with the vocal acrobatics on my favorite holiday tune "Christmas Time is Here." She took the song from A Charlie Brown Christmas and ran all over it Christina Aguilera-style. Taking liberties is fine, but no need to get crazy. Star of the night: Chrisette Michelle. Her version of "It Came Upon Midnight Clear" was brilliant. As always, she sang with the ease and power of a well-trained jazz vocalist. When she's singing the right material, Chrisette has one of the most consistent voices in modern music.

Check out all of the performances on BET when A Very BET Christmas airs again or right now at Urban Music Direct.

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