"Dream Girls" co-stars Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson reigned as top winners at the 2007 BET Awards with two awards apiece. The awards were handed out last evening at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Leading the pack with six nominations, Beyoncé picked up statuettes for best female R&B artist and video of the year for the female anthem "Irreplaceable." First-time BET nominee Hudson was named best new artist and best female actress. Winners in other key musical categories included Ne-Yo, best male R&B artist; T.I., who claimed a second consecutive award as best male hip-hop artist; Gnarls Barkley, best group and Ludacris and Mary J. Blige for best collaboration ("Runaway Love").

Airing live, the show opened with a classic TiVo moment: a double dose of soul-singing divas when Hudson and Jennifer Holliday teamed for an emotion-packed rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going." It was Hudson who originated Hudson's Effie White character in the Broadway production of "Dream Girls." Among the evening's other performers were Ne-Yo, T.I., Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Eve, Ciara, 50 Cent, Robin Thicke and Diddy with Keyshia Cole. Reprising her still talked-about parody of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" video, returning host Mo'Nique and her crew of big girls pumped their way through Beyoncé's "Déjà Vu."

Capping the three-hour show was a series of special tributes. A compelling salute to R&B singer Gerald Levert--posthumously honored with the BET J Cool Like That award--was delivered by Patti LaBelle, Yolanda Adams, Glady Knight and Levert's dad, O'Jay's frontman Eddie Levert. Public Enemy (Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Prof. Griffin and DJ Lord) held court with a rousing tribute to soul/funk pioneer James Brown.

This year's special honorees were singer Diana Ross (lifetime achievement award) and actor/activist Don Cheadle (humanitarian award). In the Ross segment introduced by Alicia Keys, the former Supreme was saluted in song by Erykah Badu, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder. Cheadle was recognized for his work in raising awareness about the genocide in Darfur.

Encore telecasts of the 2007 BET Awards are scheduled for June 29 and July 1, 4, 6, 8 and 14.

Here are the 2007 BET Awards winners:

Best Female R&B Artist: Beyoncé
Best Male R&B Artist: Ne-Yo
Best Group: Gnarls Barkley
Best Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin
Best Hip-Hop Artist: T.I.
Best New Artist: Jennifer Hudson
Best Collaboration: Ludacris featuring Mary J. Blige ("Runaway Love")
Video of the Year: Beyoncé ("Irreplaceable), directed by Anthony Mandler
Best Actor: Forest Whitaker
Best Actress: Jennifer Hudson
Male Athlete of the Year: LeBron James (basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year: Serena Williams (tennis)
BET J Cool Like That: Gerald Levert
Viewers' Choice Award: Birdman & Lil' Wayne ("Stuntin' Like My Daddy")