Thursday’s inaugural Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, Nickelodeon’s spin-off of the annual Kids’ Choice Awards, went about just as well as an event for children could. Hosted by “Live! with Kelly and Michael” host and former New York Giant Michael Strahan, the event capitalized on the popularity of the ESPYs held the night before with an ensemble of well-known athletes who proudly came up to receive their blimp-shaped awards, now adorned with a stylish mohawk. But of course, even kids’ parties have their hitches. Here are some of the best and worst moments of the adolescent celebration:
Best: Nickelodeon took their decorating job seriously, filling UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion with glowing wristbands on every seat, synchronized to light up in various colors. The audience played along smoothly with the fun participatory element, especially the children of the stage’s mosh pit, who were all given orange mohawk-shaped hats to party in.
Worst: At the opening of the night, host Strahan was abruptly slimed by large jets on center stage. The ensuing slime made the platform terribly slippery for everybody who came afterwards, including near crashes for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and “Best Comeback” winner Bethany Hamilton.
Best: Of all the night’s presenters, Marshawn Lynch should get the award for best style. Starting from backstage, Lynch ran “Beast Mode” through the backdrop of the show’s inner workings, knocking over officials and directors (or at least their stunt doubles), only to inevitably jump in a touchdown landing pad filled with slime. Whether it was a surprise to Lynch or not, it sure got a lot of laughs.
Worst: At the introduction of the “Party Like a Sports Star” award, presenter Sloane Stevens played a joke on fellow presenter Tony Hawk, giving away his skateboard to the nearby children in the pit. Little did Stevens know that Hawk’s skateboard is a desperately wanted commodity, causing a little grasping fight of kids trying to get their hands on the prized item.
Best: Florida Georgia Line didn’t need collaborators Luke Bryan or Nelly to perform their biggest hits, giving a rousing, energized show to a more than enthusiastic audience. Playing “This Is How We Roll” followed by “Cruise,” the crowd didn’t respond too well when asked for the lyrics, but Florida Georgia Line kept it rolling regardless.
Worst: Not all of the night’s awards went to the athlete with the biggest reception from the crowd when the nominees were listed. But only one celebrity actually got some boos during their speech — Victor Cruz, winning the “Party Like a Sports Star” award over the clear favorite Cristiano Ronaldo. Or maybe the football families of Los Angeles just aren’t Giants fans.
Best: The Halftime Show (or “Halfslime Show,” as one announcer called it), was the most successful act of the night. Larry Fitzgerald won a slime dunking contest, dipping Earl Thomas III into a vat of green goop before getting slimed himself. But it was Ricardo Jacobo Jr., a 15-year old that won $50,000 in the half-court shot competition, that got the entire stadium to give a well-deserved standing ovation.
Worst: Many of the night’s presenters either didn’t rehearse their lines, or weren’t given much to work with. Nick Cannon firing off a literal t-shirt cannon and stunt group Dude Perfect tossing a lame football catch from the balcony were less than inspired. But Will Arnett in a goalie outfit defending hockey puck shots against a playful Henrik Lundqvist was the most awkward.
Best: David Beckham was given the night’s biggest honor, the first Kids’ Choice Sports “Legend” award. As a montage of his international soccer success played, he was handed the blimp by his own kids, Romeo and Cruz Beckham, just before all three were soaked in glimmering golden slime.
Worst: Pharrell has probably performed “Happy” enough times to do it in his sleep. But his performance as the night’s closer felt uninspired compared to some of the glamorous routines done for the Oscars and “Saturday Night Live.” It didn’t help that Pharrell was drowned out by the children in the mosh pit, who screamed into his mic louder than he could sing the worn out tune.
Complete list of the night’s winners:
Best Male Athlete: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Best Female Athlete: Gabby Douglas (U.S. Gymnast)
Favorite Newcomer: Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Favorite Catch: Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)
Best Save: Tim Howard (U.S. Men’s Soccer Team)
Clutch Player of the Year: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Sickest Moves: Alex Morgan (U.S. Women’s Soccer Team)
Don’t Try This at Home Award: Shaun White (Snowboarder)
Smells Like Team Spirit: Seattle Seahawks Fans
Party Like a Sports Star: Victor Cruz (New York Giants)
King of Swag: Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
Queen of Swag: Gabby Douglas (U.S. Gymnast)
Biggest Cannon: Serena Williams (Women’s Tennis)
Favorite Comeback Athlete: Bethany Hamilton (Surfer)
Legend Award: David Beckham
(Pictured: Michael Strahan gets slimed at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards)