In an ideal world, the formula would go like this: The further you stray from the age where it is socially acceptable to watch Nickelodeon programming, the fewer names you should recognize during the network’s annual Kids’ Choice Awards. It’s simple, really.
However, like any other award show these days, the pressure is on to capture viewers and trend on Twitter. Enter the 27th Kids’ Choice Awards, which aired on Saturday night and served as a reminder that this “ceremony” really isn’t just for kids anymore.
Exhibit A: Mark Wahlberg as host. Sure, he starred in a movie about a stuffed animal; an incredibly vulgar stuffed animal. Besides the fact that he has kids, what were his qualifications exactly?
Granted, there were a few names that no one born before the 21st century should recognize, along with categories for cartoons and video games. Those weren’t actually honored on air, though: For the actual broadcast, the network trotted out the biggest stars they could get to show up. Many of them had absolutely nothing to do with kid-centric programming.
Given that there were many, many children in the audience that looked like they haven’t yet reached the later years of elementary school, here were a few moments that likely flew right over kids’ heads.
A Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” parody. In the psychedelic opening number that took place on an island with slime rivers (yep), a group of singers (Todrick Hall, Cody Simpson, Austin Mahone and more) previewed the upcoming show by changing the lyrics to various songs. That included Ke$ha and Flo Rida’s “Timber”; Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love”; Lady Gaga’s “Applause”; Pharrell Williams’s “Happy” and more. While some of those choices are a little suspect (Do kids really know the lyrics to “Timber”? They do? Okay.), it was a little disturbing to see one of the performers on a wrecking ball mimicking Miley. Hopefully, none of those youngest audience members saw her risque music video.
Kids’ Choice Awards 2014: Oh, What a Night!
Stars from shows they shouldn’t be watching yet. Hmm, are kids these days big fans of “NCIS: Los Angeles”? “The Millers”? “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”? Regardless, LL Cool J, Will Arnett, Jayma Mays and Andy Samberg showed up plugging their respective shows. Plus, every actor tangentially tied to a new kid-related project (Adam Sandler of “Blended,” Chris Rock of “Grown Ups 3,” America Ferrera of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”) showed up to accept an award or present.
There were a lot of spots to fill: Many times, the first presenters introduced other presenters, who then actually announced the award, sometimes via video because they were too busy to show up. (Such as the “American Idol” judges.) At least the in-person presenters occasionally got slimed.
Kids’ Choice Awards 2014: Kaley Gets Slimed, Pharrell!
Rip-off of Ellen’s selfie gag from the Oscars. With the Chainsmokers’ inescapable and grating track “#Selfie” blaring in the background, former child star Tia Mowry took the microphone and encouraged all kids to take a selfie — and the TV audience at home to do the same, with the TV in the background. Similar to Ellen’s stunt at the Oscars, this was supposed to “set the world selfie record.” Which record, exactly, we were never told.
Robert Downey Jr.’s veiled references to his personal issues. RDJ — plugging “Avengers 2” — actually gave a great acceptance speech. “This is the highest honor yet bestowed upon me,” he told the screaming crowd when he got the trophy for Favorite Male Buttkicker for “Iron Man 3.” He segued into a more personal note. “I wasn’t always a buttkicker — in fact, life has kicked my proverbial butt countless times many ways for many years, until I decided to start kicking back.”
We’re guessing parents in the room got that he was alluding to his well-documented addiction struggles — but that kids mostly related to his takeaway: “When life is kicking your butt, never forget to kick it back right in the face.”
The boredom of Lifetime Achievement Award presentations. Kids, you have no idea how lucky you are that the first-ever Kids’ Choice Achievement Award went to Dan Schneider, unstoppable creator of hit Nick shows “Kenan & Kel,” “All That,” “The Amanda Show,” “Drake & Josh,” “Zoey 101,” “iCarly,” “Victorious,” Sam & Cat,” etc. Instead of a dull footage reel or sleep-inducing tribute, there was an entertaining reunion of all the actors Schneider shot to stardom (including Kenan Thompson via video). Let’s just let the young audience think this is always how these things go at awards shows. Preserve the innocence!
Along with all of that, there was slime. Lots and lots of slime. That’s all the target audience really wants from the Kids’ Choice Awards, anyway — along with Pharrell Williams in a Spongebob Squarepants pajama onesie, which yes, also happened.
Here are all the winners:
Favorite Funny Star
Kevin Hart — winner
Favorite Female Singer
Selena Gomez — winner
Favorite TV Actress
Ariana Grande (“Sam & Cat,” Nickelodeon) — winner
Jennette McCurdy (“Sam & Cat,” Nickelodeon)
Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie,” Disney)
Debby Ryan (“Jessie,” Disney)
Favorite TV Actor
Benjamin Flores Jr (“The Haunted Hathaways,” Nickelodeon)
Jack Griffo (“The Thundermans,” Nickelodeon)
Ross Lynch (“Austin & Ally,” Disney) — winner
Jake Short (“A.N.T. Farm,” Disney)
Favorite Movie Actress
Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”)
Mila Kunis (“Oz: The Great and Powerful”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) — winner
Jayma Mays (“The Smurfs 2”)
Favorite TV Show
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Good Luck Charlie” (Disney)
“Sam & Cat” (Nickelodeon) — winner
Favorite Music Group
One Direction — winner
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Movie Actor
Johnny Depp (“The Lone Ranger”)
Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man 3”)
Neil Patrick Harris (“The Smurfs 2”)
Adam Sandler (“Grown Ups 2”) — winner
Favorite Male Buttkicker
Johnny Depp (“The Lone Ranger”)
Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man 3”) — winner
Hugh Jackman (“The Wolverine”)
Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 6″)
Favorite Animated Movie
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”
“Despicable Me 2”
“Frozen” — winner
— UNAIRED —
Favorite Reality Show
“America’s Got Talent” (NBC)
“American Idol” (Fox)
“The Voice” (NBC)
“Wipeout” (ABC) — winner
“Adventure Time” (Disney)
“Phineas and Ferb” (Disney)
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (Nickelodeon) — winner
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (Nickelodeon)
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” — winner
“Iron Man 3”
“Oz the Great and Powerful”
“The Smurfs 2”
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie
Steve Carell (“Despicable Me 2”)
Miranda Cosgrove (“Despicable Me 2”) — winner
Billy Crystal (“Monsters University”)
Katy Perry (“The Smurfs 2”)
Favorite Male Singer
Justin Timberlake — winner
Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”
Katy Perry – “Roar”
One Direction – “Story of My Life” — winner
Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series — winner
“Harry Potter” series
“The Hunger Games” series
“Angry Birds Star Wars”
“Just Dance 2014” — winner
Favorite App Game
“Star Wars II”
“Candy Crush Saga”
“Despicable Me: Minion Rush” — winner
Favorite Animated Animal Sidekick
Patrick Star (“SpongeBob SquarePants,” Nickelodeon) — winner
Perry the Platypus (“Phineas and Ferb,” Disney)
Sparky (“Fairly Odd Parents,” Nickelodeon)
Waddles (“Gravity Falls,” Disney)
Most Enthusiastic Athlete
Dwight Howard — winner
Favorite Female Buttkicker
Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) — winner
Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”)
Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”)