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This year, the BET Awards will be bigger and better than ever. Chris Rock is hosting and artists including veterans John Legend, Usher, Pharrell Williams, Mary J. Blige and hot newcomers August Alsina and Jhene Aiko will perform, along with an array of international artists.

It might be a big night for the Carters as Beyonce and Jay-Z lead the top nominees with five nods apiece. Singer/songwriter Lionel Richie is this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award and Tom Joyner makes a cameo in his tribute video.

“Man, it’s going to be a big show. It’s going to be bigger than Beyonce will even be a year from now,” BET’s President of Music Programming and Specials Stephen G. Hill says.

“There’s a beloved performer who hasn’t been on a stage in years who is going to partner up with someone who is one of the hottest people out right now. There is a group of people who you also haven’t seen in a while singing songs that you’ve loved for years. It’s the BET Awards – you know we’re coming with something.”

As Robin Thicke continues on his Get His Woman Back Tour with a performance during the awards, Hill jokes that during his scheduled performance, you’ll see live text messages passing between him and his estranged wife, Paula Patton. Host Chris Rock hasn’t graced a standup stage lately, but Hill says his comedic zingers are still intact.

“These are the first fresh four minutes of comedy you’ve seen from Chris Rock onstage in five years,” says Hill. ”That’s like a surprise Jay-Z verse.”

Will newly released Chris Brown rock the BET stage? It sounds like it could happen since he’s one of the performers who hasn’t graced a stage in some time. Hill wouldn’t say, but insisted that this year’s show would be the one to watch.

Tune in live on BET on Sunday, June 29 at 8 p.m. when the BET Awards airs from The Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Check out the entire list of 2014 BET Awards nominees here. 

(Photo: PR Photos)

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The Nominees Are In: 2014 BET Awards
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