Centric gets groovy with 2014 Soul Train Awards

Starting off with a bang, the “Soul Train Awards” pulled out all the stops in Las Vegas getting pop star Chris Brown to open the show performing a medley of his greatest hits. Taking it back nearly a decade, Brown performed a few of his old hits, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” “Poppin” and brought it back to current times ending his set with “Loyal.” Despite the applause, and swooning of the ladies remembering CB, pre-Rihanna, it was obvious that things weren’t the same as the vocals and dance moves were not quite the same.

Hostess with the mostess, Wendy Williams made a grand entrance in a very dramatic way, as she waltzed onto the stage in a sparkly number with a masked man who was later revealed as Hollywood hunk Boris Kodjoe. The 50-year-old talk show host may be known for not having a filter but managed to remain a class-act throughout her introduction video and opening monologue, showcasing a softer side.

It only seemed right that the first televised award of the night went to R&B crooner Trey Songz for Best R&B/Soul Male Artist.  The “Na Na” singer known for his flirtatious ways and sexualized lyrics shared a cute moment onstage with Chris Brown’s protégé Sevyn Streeter. Other major winners of the night included Pharrell William’s “Happy” for Song Of the Year, “Beyoncé” by Beyoncé (Album of the Year) and Chris Brown’s “Loyal” featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga for Best Collaboration.

As the night went on, viewers were treated to an energetic performance of Tinashe’s smash single “2 On,” which was a bit overshadowed by her hilarious intro from Flava Flav who attempted to sing the party anthem acapella. Duo Nico & Vinz and soul singers Kem and Ledisi also graced the stage as well, making the show very well-rounded, touching all genres of urban music.

Keeping its promise to be the “hippest trip in America,” viewers were taken for a crazy ride back to the early 90s as Jodeci made their way to the stage. The original bad boys of R&B performed their classics “Freek’n You,” “Come and Talk to Me,” “Stay” and “Forever My Lady.” The fellas were a crowd favorite of the night as there wasn’t a head not bobbing and a hip not swaying as the crowd gave a standing ovation and the people at home went wild on social media.

Honorees of the night Kool & the Gang receiving the Legend Award were treated to a spectacular tribute. It seemed as the lineup did not stop as everyone from Ma$e to Tamar Braxton and Joe were on the stage within a 15-minute time span. However, the tribute performance that made everyone’s mouth drop was the reunion of Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Left Eye later joined by Yo-Yo, the Lady of Rage, MC Lyte and R&B group total  for 1996s “Not Tonight,” a remake of Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies Night.”

Closing out the show, Doug E. Fresh started a classic soul train line that turned into a massive dance party on stage.  Despite the stigma surrounding the awards show in the past, this year proved to be a win for Centric/BET as it gave their audience a night full of love, peace and soul.