“You’re going to want to keep that ticket forever,” a mom said to her elementary-age daughter as we stood in line, waiting to go inside of the most coveted award show to anyone under age 13: Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards.
The Kids’ Choice Awards brought the fun, laughs and a really big mess on Saturday, March 12, and I was inside The Forum in Inglewood, California, to get in on all the green, slimy action.
Blake Shelton hosted the event and kept the show moving with his larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. The The Voice judge and country singer even wore a unicorn costume at one point during the show.
The majority of the audience consisted of parents and their children. KCA tickets can’t be bought, so to score them, you have to either know somebody or be somebody. However, seat-filler tickets and pit tickets (for kids only) can be snagged online for free.
The KCAs is likely the only awards show where the entire audience screams along with every countdown at the end of commercial breaks. During those breaks, audience hype guys even shot T-shirts into the crowd out of cannons to keep the arena pumped up.
Performers included Charlie Puth with Wiz Khalifa, Joe Jonas’ new band DNCE and Silento singing his viral hit “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”
Nickelodeon did a great job of seamlessly integrating both big-name talents, like Heidi Klum, Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, and Nickelodeon stars into the show. The standout young celeb of the night was the star of Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger, Jace Norman. Norman played a major role in the show as Shelton’s partner in crime, teaming up with the country singer to slime John Stamos and play a toilet paper prank on DNCE.
One of the coolest and most innovative bits using Nickelodeon talent was when the cast of Game Shakers did a live-action version of the video game Mario Bros., complete with kids on wires.
What do kids love in 2016? Social media stars. No surprise, YouTube and Vine stars played a key role in the show. Cameron Dallas and Bethany Mota went head-to-head in a fan-voted slime-off, resulting in Dallas getting a major sliming. Fifth Harmony, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Shelton were among other stars to get slimed.
While kids today are often glued to their phones watching online video, don’t be fooled, they still love children’s television stars. While exiting the venue, I got caught in a mob scene of young fans surrounding Disney Channel actors Peyton Meyer and Kelli Berglund. Meyer is a series regular on what’s arguably Disney Channel’s current most popular show, Girl Meets World. Berglund stars on the Disney XD show Lab Rats.
Through every winner’s acceptance speech, from the cast of Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans to the Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, the sentiments remained the same: encouraging kids to follow their dreams.
I attended the KCAs for the first time when I was on a trip to Los Angeles from my hometown, Omaha, Nebraska, with my family during middle school. At the time, it was the coolest thing to ever happen to me. I remember sitting in the audience and thinking, “If I can be here, maybe I can achieve my dreams, too.”
Now, I’ve covered and attended the KCAs as a reporter and “adult” for the past five years. I’m no stranger to the KCAs, but my slime-colored, green ticket from the 2006 KCAs is still stuck with tape to the mirror in my childhood bedroom in Nebraska. That mom was right. Her daughter’s going to want to keep it forever.