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Chris Brown channels Michael Jackson in BET Awards tribute

LOS ANGELES — It was a night of comebacks at the BET Awards, and none more unexpected than Chris Brown performing an emotional tribute to Michael Jackson.

The embattled pop star has mostly kept a low profile since pleading guilty to felony assault for beating up Rihanna in February 2009. But here he was, center stage, mimicking Jackson’s signature dance moves with almost eerie accuracy. Introduced by Jermaine Jackson, Brown embodied the King of Pop, wearing his fedora and spangled glove and moonwalking across the stage to “Billie Jean.”

Then, as Brown grabbed a microphone to sing “Man in the Mirror,” he broke down in tears. His voice cracked, he couldn’t sing, and at one point he crumpled to the stage in apparent agony. It was a moving moment made even more so by the song’s lyrics and Brown’s recent past.

The 21-year-old returned to the stage later in the show when he won the AOL “fandemonium award.”

“I let you all down before, but I won’t do it again. I promise you,” he said.

Associated Press