Even before Black Girls Rock! 2015 premiered, there was a meme of Ciara’s “I Bet” performance going around. The meme joked, “I need to know what song required this much from Ciara,” with a picture of the singer giving her best Whitney Houston diva impression. After watching her performance on this year's Black Girls Rock!, it was obvious that it was all fluff and no substance. What is truly disappointing is that “I Bet” should have naturally given Ciara the motivation she needed to deliver a powerful performance.
While “I Bet” is a very personal song, Ciara’s performance was emotionally distant. Featuring lyrics that you can tell come from true, real-life experiences, it was performed as if she was singing about someone else’s life and not her own. Ciara looked as if she was imitating the histrionics of singers with much stronger vocals when we'd much rather see her twerk for her life like she does so well. CiCi is more natural on the dance floor than delivering ballads. At the very least, Ciara could have recreated scenes from the song's music video on stage to make what she was doing somewhat interesting and engaging. Unfortunately, there was none of that to be found. However, the redeeming qualities to be had were her live vocals and her chemistry with the band, which were both on point. When not caught up in bringing unnecessary drama, Ciara succeeded.
Despite the lack of emotional resonance, scarce choreography and the awkward song choice for such an esteemed occasion, Ciara still delivered a competent performance. We just hope she’s able to find a more comfortable lane before her next live performance of the song.