In a meeting of old and new, honoree Aretha Franklin (search) and young winners Ciara and Amerie dished up pure soul at the 2005 Lady of Soul Awards (search), while big winners Mariah Carey (search), Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott were no-shows.
Franklin received the Lena Horne Award for outstanding career achievements and gave two rousing performances — "Until You Come Back to Me" with Stevie Wonder on piano and a pumped-up version of her hit "Respect."
Sweating and slapping her thigh, she pounded out high and low notes, holding her microphone out to the audience on the song's famous chorus.
"I don't think I can carry it, but I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this award," she said.
Carey won awards for best solo single and album for "The Emancipation of Mimi."
"I've got a great place on the mantle, so call me Mariah," joked presenter and "Charmed" star Dorian Gregory, who accepted the best single award on Carey's behalf.
Destiny's Child nabbed awards for best group single for "Soldier" and best album for "Destiny Fulfilled." Keys won best song of the year for "If I Ain't Got You," while Elliott won best music video for "Lose Control," featuring Ciara (search) and Fat Man Scoop.
Ciara, Brian McKnight and Toni Braxton hosted the ceremony Wednesday night at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, which will be syndicated for broadcast later this month.
Winners were decided by 1,600 voters, including artists and radio station representatives.
For the first time, Franklin presented the Aretha Franklin Award for entertainer of the year in person. The winner was Amerie (search), whose bouncy song "1 Thing" became a summertime hit.
Amerie said she had trouble sleeping for weeks thinking about Franklin presenting her the award. She thanked her parents, her sister and longtime "Soul Train" host Don Cornelius for "supporting me throughout my brief career, which will hopefully become a long one."
Earlier, she performed "1 Thing" dressed in black lace with a bevy of dancers.
Ciara won awards for best new artist and dance cut for her thumping "1, 2 Step." The crunk-and-R&B-influenced singer changed from a sleek black pantsuit to a bra-skimming top and again to a modest blue sweater during the show.
"It's such a blessing just to be acknowledged as an artist," she said. "We didn't get any sleep on this video, so thank you."
Dorothy Norwood clapped and danced her way to the stage to accept the best gospel award. "This is my first major win, to be on national television. I'm just overwhelmed. I thank God for this," Norwood said.
Even as they honored musical accomplishments, guests and award recipients said their thoughts were with victims of Hurricane Katrina. Wonder, in a patchwork blue jacket, touched his chest and said "my heart is heavy" for Katrina survivors.
"I've been asked by a few networks to give back. More than anything, I want to devote time," Ciara said. "You can feel the hurt, but you can't feel it really unless you're there."
An emotional visual tribute was also shown for famed R&B singer Luther Vandross, who died in July two years after suffering from a stroke.