Toni Braxton ft. Trey Songz "Yesterday"
Ryan Leslie "You're Not My Girl" & Mario ft. Sean Garrett "Break Up"
Brian McKnight, Others Tribute Charlie Wilson
The Soul Train Awards made their return last night with a tribute-filled & foolishness-heavy (courtesy of hosts Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard) ceremony that also featured both decent performers, including some nice ones thrown into the tributes, & winners alike. (Re: The hosts, they were fine--I actually like Taraji--those who put it all together simply seemed to favor odd skits in place of giving out actual awards...) Toni Braxton opened the show (I love saying that!) with her new single in a classy, yet sassy manner that was almost perfect (yuuup, indeed). Keri Hilson performed "Knock You Down," "Slow Dance," & "Turnin' Me On" in her usual fly way. In a weird segment comparing Ryan Leslie's ivy league education to Mario's upbringing in the hood that seemed to unintentionally diss the more talented latter, the two performed separate sets that were good, if not for the strange chopping of their songs. Estelle & Melanie Fiona joined a slew of others on stage to honor Motown's 50th anniversary, while Fantasia ..passionately screamed.. her part of the Chaka Khan tribute & Brian McKnight sang during the tribute to Charlie Wilson. I can't knock 'em for at least getting several of my favs, particularly the MIA-as-of-late Fantasia, to perform in the tributes. Now, you wouldn't know most of this from watching the show, but Beyonce won three golden trains for Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist, & Song Of The Year ("Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"). Also, Keri Hilson walked away with the awards for Best New Artist & Best Collaboration with Kanye West & Ne-Yo ("Knock You Down"). Nice job, ladies! HERE are all the winners.