Justin Bieber, slimed? Kids' Choice Awards beats out Oscars
Tinseltown loves award shows and deep down, so do we -- but there's always SOMETHING to complain about. "Too old," the critics moan when they look at the Oscar voters and their tastes. "Too young," the same critics say when they listen to the shrill sound of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Both are accurate appraisals, but which of the two shows is serving its audience best?
On Saturday, the 25th edition of the Kids’ Choice Awards brought its tween screams to USC's Galen Center. The show handed out its trophies (bright orange blimps that weigh about 2 pounds) and reveled in its grand tradition of drenching celebrities in slime (Halle Berry once got surprised with a kiss at the Academy Awards; on Saturday she got a face full of soupy green goop), but also offered moments of unintentional hilarity.
A boy band called Big Time Rush won a Blimp for favorite music act, and one of the members poignantly declared that the group had “waited a long time for this” because, well, you know, it’s been 15 whole months since their debut album was released.
Still, is it better to be coated in green or tinged with gray? We attended the Saturday show with a plan to compare the Oscars and Kids' Choice Awards to see which one is really pushing the envelope in audience satisfaction. Here’s how we graded the galas.
The Carpet: The rug is red at the Oscars, but for the Kids' Choice Awards they roll out an orange carpet. Instead of Brad Pitt, the man of the hour on Saturday was Josh Hutcherson of "The Hunger Games" and (according to an unscientific measure of sidewalk screaming) he is second only to Justin Bieber as the most desired boyfriend in the Clearasil nation. The Academy Awards are haute couture, Kids' Choice Awards are Hot Topic. Inane questions and comments await the celebrities walking down both carpets, but there are some differences. "You look like you've grown since last year," one chipper KCAs announcer told teen heartthrob Cody Simpson. EDGE: OSCARS
The Audience: The Oscars audience is producers, actors, agents, executives -- the elite of Hollywood in rented gowns and insured jewelry. The Nickelodeon audience is kids (and their shellshocked parents) who cheer, scream, dance, sing and never ever grow weary of famous people getting slimed. (The weird thing is the stars are always surprised. Taylor Lautner totally should have seen that coming, right?) The KCA crowd is unflagging in its enthusiasm; they greeted singer Katy Perry with a passionate chant of "Kay-tee! Kay-tee!" and kept cheering even after her shaky-key performance. Even when faced with Perry's farewell threat -- "I can't wait to do 'Smurfs 2'!" -- they just kept cheering. Clearly, this is a crowd drinking the Kool-Aid. EDGE: BLIMPS
The Voters: The Oscars voters take heat for being stuffy, too old and out of touch with mainstream tastes. The Kids' Choice Awards voters (anyone with access to the Internet) handed their favorite actor award to Adam Sandler. For "Jack & Jill." EDGE: OSCARS
The Hosts: Tough call. Old reliable Billy Crystal was back as Oscars host this year, but Saturday's host, Will Smith, is the king of the KCAs -- he has won more Blimps than any other star. Smith was lowered from the rafters, danced, sang and went into the crowd to mug for the cameras -- but he was oddly flat for much of the show. However, he did two extraordinary things: First, he never once plugged his upcoming film "Men in Black 3" or mentioned its release date. Second, at the end of the show he grabbed Bieber, pinned back his arms and held the pop star helpless as he was pounded by an impressive geyser of green slime. Way to finish, Big Willie. EDGE: BLIMPS
The Tiebreaker: Both shows have their faults, each has its special magic. So how to choose a winner? Well, the 84th Academy Awards stretched out to three hours and 14 minutes. The Kids’ Choice Awards, on the other hand, started at 5 p.m. and had us out the door by 6:40 p.m. Suddenly, Big Time Rush sounds like a good idea, because none of us are getting any younger. OUR WINNER: BLIMPS
[For the record, 8:13 a.m. April 1: An earlier version of this post said Saturday marked the 21st edition of the Kids' Choice Awards. It was the 25th year of the awards.]
-- Geoff Boucher
Photo: From left, Big Time Rush members Carlos Pena, Logan Henderson, James Maslow and Kendall Schmidt accept the Blimp for favorite music group at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images