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Soul Train Awards 2011: Cee Lo, Common, Whodini Perform

There were trophies to hand out at the 40th annual Soul Train Awards, which took place earlier this month in Atlanta and aired last night (Nov. 27) on BET, but as with any show of its kind, the real highlights were the live performances.

Cee Lo Green, who won the prize for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist, turned in one of the night’s many killer duets, getting into lover-man mode with singing partner Melanie Fiona. The soul eccentric and sometime Gnarls Barkley member performed barefoot in a flowing ’70s-style white fringe get-up, looking easy like Sunday morning.

The prize for Best Hip-Hop Song went to Nicki Minaj, and while she wasn’t on hand to offer up the winning tune, ‘Moment for Life,’ ace rhymer Common represented for the genre, offering a sort of visual counterpoint to the Cee Lo-Fiona team-up. Rocking a dark suit and bow tie, the Chicago rapper joined Marsha Ambrosius — also dressed in black — for the inspirational jam ‘Blue Sky.’

It was an especially good night for Ambrosius, who took home Record of the Year honors for ‘Far Away.’ Other winners included Miguel, who was named Best New Artist; Chris Brown, whose ‘F.A.M.E.’ was deemed Album of the Year; and Kelly Rowland, who nabbed Song of the Year for ‘Motivation.’

Rowland’s BFF Beyonce, meanwhile, earned Best Dance Performance for ‘Run the World (Girls).’

No awards show is complete without at least one star-studded tribute, and this year’s Soul Train broadcast had two. On the R&B tip, a group of singers including Ambrosius, Tamar Braxton and Natalie Cole honored living legend Gladys Knight, while old-school hip-hoppers Doug E. Fresh, Naughty by Nature, Whodini, Big Daddy Kane and Kurtis Blow big-upped fallen homie Heavy D.

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