20 Questions: 2013 Soul Train Awards Review

Last week I skipped the American Music Awards and awoke the next day to (almost literally) two dozen emails/tweets/paper airplanes with notes written on them DEMANDING a review.

Sorry, playas, I had better things to do.

Image courtesy of jluster via Flickr

Yeah, I pretty much looked like that.

But since the Internet streets DEMANDED it, I’m back with a wrap-up of the annual Soul Train Awards.

However, if you know me, there’s only one reason why I decided to review this show. More on that later.

1. The show opened with Jennifer Hudson leading a performance featuring R&B greats like Chaka Khan and Evelyn “Champagne” King. Oh, and T.I., rapping over a pre-recorded verse. When did J-Hud lose so much weight? She was running around stage looking like Laura Winslow.

2. Our host for the evening was Anthony Anderson, better known to readers under age 20 as the nerd from Transformers. His opening number, which paid tribute to BBD’s “Poison” was cool, until he started “shaking it like a red nose” and “woke up in a new Bugatti.” Since when are Sage the Gemini and Ace Hood considered soulful?

3. Am I the only person who has never heard of Bill Bellamy and Vivica Fox’s show Mr. Box Office?

4. K. Michelle picked up the award for Best New Artist. She also picked up two leftover Thanksgiving turkeys and stuffed them in her panties. Do y’all really like butts that big? I can’t date a woman who can fit in Megatron’s jogging pants.

5. I must be out of touch with black culture because I didn’t know half the celebrities who shuffled across the stage. Who was the guy from The Biggest Loser? There was also a woman dressed like a silver Sprite can and a dude wearing a medium-sized Scrooge McDuck blazer. I was very confused.

6. Remember that annoying motorcycle dance that Yung Joc introduced circa 2006? When Tom Cruise did the dance on 106 and Park, that craze was officially dead and buried. Well, when Wolf Blitzer mentioned getting “turnt up” about 100 times during the show, you witnessed the death of “turnt.”

7. Jon B. and the grossly underrated Bobby Caldwell performed during the “Blue Eyed Soul” portion of the show. Frankly, I’m not a fan of the term. Why should “soul” be characterized by color? Blue-eyed soul is no more special than brown-eyed soul. Soul is soul, playa.

8. Also, during that performance, they trotted out the corpse of Vanilla Ice. Why? Going from Bobby Caldwell to Vanilla Ice is like going from Thanksgiving dinner to a Now & Later covered in pocket lint.

9. Conversation at Soul In Stereo Studios:

Wifey: Isn’t that your girl, Ashanti?

Me: Oh lord, yes! Is see she still fine!

Wifey: I see she covered up those sideburns.

10. I like K. Michelle well enough, but can we PLEASE stop pretending that she’s the next Mariah Carey? K. Michelle makes ringtones for baby mommas on Maury, that’s about it.

11. And speaking of overrated artists, wasn’t it a bit odd that we get this HUGE buildup for the newly renamed Chaka Khan Female Artist of the Year Award only to bestow it to … Tamar Braxton? Sure, she has a great story but I’m pretty sure these awards are given out because of great songs, not overcoming reality show drama. She had two strong singles but her catalog pales in comparison to, say, Janelle Monae.

But lemme chill before y’all set my inbox ablaze. Tamar stans will kill for their queen.

And speaking of stanning…

12. Finally. FINALLY. The moment R&B has been waiting for for two decades.


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Look at that jacket, made from the finest velvet tablecloths and woven with the hair of two decades of babymommas.

Hey, Vegeta, what was Keith’s level of swag?

Keith went on to torch the stage, blazing through “I Want Her,” “Don’t Stop Your Love,” “Nobody” and “Make It Last Forever” (with the brilliant Faith Evans).

These are the moments that make memories, ladies and gentlemen. That performance had me like:

Oh wait, there’s more show left? Ugh, OK.

13. The Cirque du Soleli Michael Jackson tribute was pretty entertaining but why did Anthony Anderson have to coon up the proceedings with his ridiculous antics? It was fine without him.

14. Why did Twitter show respect to Trayvon Martin’s mother when she was shown on camera only to immediately go into THIRST OVERDRIVE when Idris Elba hit the stage? Have some dignity, people.

15. Janelle Monae’s “Q.U.E.E.N.” won video of the year. Aren’t you impressed with Janelle’s constant poise and regal professionalism? She’s a great representative for R&B.

16. There’s no doubt that Tamar can sing but good lord she has to work on her stage presence. Making sex faces does not bring energy to one’s performance. And why was she dressed like that wire sponge my grandma uses to clean her pots?

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17. The tribute to Dionne Warwick featured an all-star ensemble that emphasized how much of a legend she truly is. Ron Isley, Ruben Studdard, Chrisette Michele, Candice Glover from American Idol, Eric Benet, some weird alien we’re told is Kenny Lattimore and Gladys Knight all paid tribute. Gladys is 69 and still can bring an audience to its feet. Y’all think Rihanna is still gonna be around four decades from now? Playa please.

18. Dionne’s acceptance speech was truly stirring. She actually paved the way for the Soul Train Awards with the legendary Don Cornelius, saying they were created to “celebrate those who were not being celebrated.” She also said she shied away from the term “legend” until tonight. You can tell she enjoyed the moment. Did you see her rubbing and clutching the trophy like her “precious” from Lord of the Rings?

19. Remember how awesome 90s movies and soundtracks were? Today, the only black movies involve a man dressed like fat old lady and remakes of the superior 90s films. Warren G took us back in time with “Regulate” while dressed like a substitute teacher.

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At least he looked more mature than E-40, who looked like he fell in a pile of Diddy’s dirty laundry in 1997.

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20. The show closed with a throwback performance from Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and Big Daddy Kane. Everyone was wearing so much pink that you could tell the show was originally filmed during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But you know what? I ain’t hating. The closing Soul Train line was well worth it.

Well, the first hour of the evening was typical dull award show stuff but things really picked up once Jon B. and Bobby Caldwell showed up. The host wasn’t totally obnoxious, the tributes were great (as usual) and Lil Bow Wow wore his finest green wig.

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Plus, the king finally got his crown.

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I’d say it was a good night.


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