Confirmed performers for the show include multi-Grammy Award winning singer Natalie Cole, Jill Scott, Mindless Behavior, Robin Thicke, BeBe Winans and Joe, with The Original 7Ven, formerly known as The Time, opening the show. Questlove, of The Roots, will also perform a rendition of the “Soul Train” opening song.
While we are well aware that many of our picks will not likely win, we present those those that we feel are most deserving here for your review and debate.
Best New Artist
Miguel (Soulhead Pick)
Commentary: While we were quite impressed by Frank Ocean this year, we feel Miguel really made us sit up and listen. “All I Want is You” is one of the better songs this year for sure. While we think Bruno Mars will likely win this award, we are pulling for Miguel.
Best Male R&B/Soul Artist
Cee Lo Green (Soulhead Pick)
Commentary: We are just too proud of Cee Lo. From Goodie MOB to Gnarls Barkley, this brother has really been on a roll for years. Again, he likely won’t win but he deserves to. Unfortunately, Chris Brown will likely take the award, which we do not feel will be deserved. Not that Chris is not talented, but in this group, he’s not our fave.
Ledisi (Soulhead Pick)
Commentary: We are strooong supporters of Ledisi as one of our country’s best singers ever. As such, we cannot go against her in this important category. We love most of these artists and would love to see any of these incredibly gifted artists win, but Ledisi should win, with Raphael Saadiq a very close second.
Best Caribbean Performance
Man Down – Rihanna
Summer Time – Vybz Kartel
Wotless – Kes The Band
Bend Over Machel Montano
Commentary: Even though it will be tough to beat Rihanna just ’cause, we were hearing Movado a bunch this year in Brooklyn.
Best Gospel Performance
I Smile Kirk Franklin (Soulhead Pick)
Walking Mary Mary
Heaven Hear My Heart Trin-I-Tee 5:7
I Believe James Fortune ft. Shawn McLemore
More Cece Winans
Commentary: This will be a very tight competition for this award. Mary Mary had a stellar year but we feel the remixed and accessible Kirk Franklin sound will win out.
Album of the Year
21 – Adele
F.A.M.E – Chris Brown
4 – Beyonce
Passion Pain & Pleasure – Trey Songz
Light of the Sun – Jill Scott
Watch The Throne – Jay Z and Kanye West (Soulhead Pick)
Commentary: We’d actually like to see Trey Songz win this award since he has been grinding for so many years and this past year produced some quality material. However, I think the best album of this group would be Jay Z and Kanye’s effort followed by Adele.
Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year
Moment for Life Nicki Minaj (Soulhead Pick)
All of the Lights- Kanye West ft. Rihanna
Look at Me Now Chris Brown feat. Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne
Out of My Head Lupe Fiasco
Otis – Jay Z and Kanye West
Commentary: Almost too close to call, but since this is a hip hop category and not a pop category, we will pick Otis over Moment for Life, which we feel is a more powerful song but not as hip hop as Otis.
Best Female R&B/Soul Artist
Jennifer Hudson (Soulhead Pick)
Mary J. Blige
Commentary: We love all of these artists but felt that Jennifer Hudson had the best year. The sentimental fave here would be Kelly Rowland but we don’t actually believe she will get the nod over Beyonce. As such, they may cancel each other out, leaving the way for J-Hud to scoop up this one.
Song of the Year
Motivation Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne
Sure Thing- Miguel
Rolling in the Deep Adele (Soulhead Pick)
She Aint You Chris Brown
All of the Lights Kanye West
So In Love Jill Scott ft. Anthony Hamilton
Commentary: Adele really deserves this one. Rolling in the Deep is one of the best songs of the past few years for sure. That said, we’d love to see Jill and Anthony take this one home.
Record of the Year (The Ashford and Simpson Songwriters Award)
Rolling in the Deep Adele (Writers: Adele, Paul Epworth)
Far Away Marsha Ambrosius (Writers: Marsha Ambrosius, Sterling Simms)
Best Thing I Never Had Beyonce (Writers: Antonio Dixon; Kenneth Edmonds; Larry Griffin, Jr.; Beyoncé Knowles; Caleb McCampbell; Patrick Smith; Shea Taylor) (Soulhead Pick)
Good Man Raphael Saddiq (Writers: Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson)
Hold My Hand (Duet with Akon) Michael Jackson (Writers: Aliaune Thiam (Akon), Giorgio Tuinfort, Claude Kelly)
Commentary: The lyrics of Best Thing…. just work. Period.
Best Dance Performance
Motivation Kelly Rowland
Only Girl in the World/Whats My Name Rihanna (Soulhead Pick)
Run The World Beyonce
She Aint You Chris Brown
Walking Mary Mary
Pretty Girl Rock Keri Hilson
Commentary: We’d love to see Kelly win this one but think Rihanna really represented this year.
2011 Soul Train Award Legend Award Recipients
Earth Wind and Fire
In Concert On Broadway Harry Connick Jr.
James Farm- Eric Harland
Light My Fire- Eliane Elias
Silver Pony- Cassandra Wilson (Soulhead Pick)
Whats It All About Pat Metheny
Commentary: Cassandra Wilson is always a favorite in this category.
Contact Boney James
Hello Tomorrow Dave Koz
Rock-et Sci-ence - Bela Fleck
Lets Touch The Sky- Fourplay
Time Together- Michael Franks
Commentary: Who doesn’t want to see Michael Franks accept this award. Love him.