Sunday was definitely a night for the throwbacks (with a little sprinkle of something new) as Wendy Williams hosted the 2014 Soul Train Awards.
Wendy opened the show with a ride through Las Vegas before she stepped into a scenario out of “The Phantom Of The Opera.” Being stalked around a huge auditorium is a pretty scary prospect–danger could lurk around any corner! Wendy seemed a lot less scared when she whipped off the phantom’s mask only to discover that it was Boris Kodjoe!
The chat diva took a night off with her usual shade (for the most part) assuring the audience that they weren’t going to get talk-show Wendy. She did still manage to flirt a bit with Trey Songz, while pointing out that a few famous people had been rotated out of the front row. She ended her opening monologue on a nice note as she congratulated Lil Kim on her new baby and got the show rolling!
For an awards ceremony, there were surprisingly few awards that went out over the course of the ceremony. Ledisi and Stephen Bishop of “Being Mary Jane” presented the first prize of the night for Best R&B/Soul Male, which went to Trey.
Later on, Leila Ali and little league superstar Mo’ne Davis came out to present Song Of The Year. Pharrell won the award with his mega-hit “Happy,” but the headline for us was how pretty young Mo’ne looked in her dress! She slayed, but she was still age-appropriate. Werk!
Sunday was also a pretty good night for Chris Brown, who opened the show with a medley of his hits that briefly chronicled the progression of his career. He started of with “Yo” then rolled over to “Poppin'” before doing “Take You Down” and “New Flame.” Just as Faith Evans was getting into his latest ballad, Breezy switched up the vibe as he finished his set with “Loyal.”
It seems that Chris more than rebounded from his time in lockup with his smash “Loyal,” which earned him both of the awards he won on Sunday: Best Hip-Hop Song and Best Collaboration!
To bring a moment of Levity to the evening, Wolf Blitzer and Tessanne Chin presented Aloe Blacc‘s Soul Inspiration performance that promoted love, peace and souuul in a time where police brutality, disease and general discord dominate so much of the media’s attention.
Judge Mathis presented the Legend Award to Kool And The Gang, who has remained relevant and respected in the industry for more than 40 years. To illustrate how far their influence has spread, Questlove did a breakdown of all the songs they did that have been sampled by acts that came up behind them.
It was followed up by a truly fly mash-up of the band’s greatest hits and off-shoots. Doug E. Fresh played emcee for this set that featured Tamar Braxton, MC Lyte, Elle Varner, Ma$e, and Tank just to name a few. This really should have been the set that rounded out the night because it was so big, but it was the perfect lead in to what came next!
If you didn’t know by now, the finale slot went to the “Ladies’ Night” reunion. Eric Benet got things popping by singing a few bars of the original before Lil Kim stomped out onto the stage in a flowing red robe and thigh-high. She, who was flanked on either side by a crew of dancers, immediately demanded attention for her verse.
When news first broke that there was going to be a reunion set for the ladies, it wasn’t clear how they would cover for Left Eye, who has long since passed way. Instead of having someone else imitate her verse, producers just let her verse run along with her clip from the video, and it was great moment of remembrance. Da Brat picked things up from there before handing off the set to Missy Elliott!
And did anyone else notice that Total did a reunion before the one they broadcast on Instagram? They joined in on the Ladies’ Night performance. Well, two of them did, anyway. It was kind of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it thing, but they were there along with Lady of Rage.
Overall it was an awesome night of music, and Wendy capped off the turn-up with the most epic of Soul Train lines!