Kids’ Choice Awards 2018: Live Updates

Click here to see the full list of winners

A sublime experience

I left The Forum about two hours ago (7 p.m. PST) and it’s finally setting in that the KCAs are over. And to be honest, I was a bit relieved — not that the event was over, but that I had successfully made it from New York to Los Angeles, to pre-parties, to the press tent (I got lost twice), to the Orange Carpet and finally to my seat.

John Cena gets slimed. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

As I was live blogging, my goal was to try and keep my “live” coverage to a minimum — a paradox, I know. But as any child of the internet age knows, you can’t truly experience anything if you’re trying to document it in real-time. I’ve made this mistake many times in life — professional and personal — and the lesson is, you retain much more about whatever’s happening in front of you if you focus your attention on what is in front of you, not at your phone or notepad.

Here’s what stuck with me.

John Cena’s opening performance was lit. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

John Cena has range. I mean, he started things off somewhat somber, but it was an absolutely crucial moment for him to acknowledge the efforts kids were taking to end gun violence.

It’s strange, but I knew that this Saturday, March 24 was both the Kids’ Choice Awards and the nation-wide March for Our Lives. Somehow, I did not correlate the fact that both major events were driven by kids until I heard Cena and others at the KCAs address the movement.

I felt proud to work for Viacom, like I felt proud to work at Viacom when the company signed a historic legal brief this summer protecting LGBT rights, like I felt proud to work at Viacom when its brands rallied after the horrific Orlando massacre two years ago. It’s unfortunate when pride is solicited from ugly places, but at least I can say I work for a company that is invested in restoring beauty to the world.

Anyway…back to Cena. He was able to segue from the serious intro to a gag where he claimed his family was coming to the show and then looked befuddled as no one took the stage with him. Later in the night he donned a wig and “granny” glasses and pretended to be…his granny. It was silly, strange and totally on-brand for Nickelodeon.

Also on my mind — the kids! I mean, duh, it’s the Kid’s Choice Awards. But this is the kind of thing that gets lost when you read or write about these events from afar. It’s understandable — adults and young adults are the ones winning awards and literally organizing everything involved at a show like this.

These kids are so stoked to be here.

But sitting in an aisle seat at The Forum, I saw so many kids who had to be under 8-years-old losing their effing minds over JoJo Siwa and Liza Koshy, it really cemented the fact that kids are the biggest stars. I saw little girls crying like they were witnessing The Beatles performing in 1964 rather than a Pomeranian accepting an Orange Blimp. And that’s so cool!

Nickelodeon is the No. 1 brand for kids, and what I saw at the KCAs made me understand why. It’s not just about producing top-notch shows and partnering with the hottest toy companies, it’s about breathing life into these shows and consumer products. No other kids brand does this the way Nickelodeon does. For example, Barbie: Mattel’s iconic toy was one of Nickelodeon’s sponsors for the KCAs. Rather than having a few Barbie ads in the telecast, the character spoke directly to the audience, with a message about self-love and empowerment.

When the T-shirt cannon flew by (it was an *actual* Orange Blimp) one girl kept running into the aisle and waving her arms back and forth so fast I thought she would launch into orbit. Security kept escorting her back to her seat and she kept running back every time she saw the blimp. I was loving her energy. She couldn’t have been more than five years old.

This is the kind of thing I live for — seeing such raw enthusiasm from our fans. I would have gone bananas to be at the Kids’ Choice Awards when I was that age; Nickelodeon was the coolest channel and I grew up with the brand. Sitting in the audience as an adult was surreal. That’s the magic of Nickelodeon: it’s a kids first universe, yet anyone can be a kid. It’s less about age than it is about spirit. And the spirit at The Forum was contagious.

Barbie got slimed!

I was feeling the girl power in the room as Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez performed her hit You Can Do Anything (which sends a message she certainly embodies).

Positive messaging at the KCAs. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Throughout the performance, the screen lit up in pink block letters with adjectives of empowerment: brave; strong; confident; fearless…it reminded me of the #SeeHer campaign, which Nickelodeon contributed to with a similar kid-focused PSA.

After Hernandez’s act, Barbie took the screen and delivered a speech to kids listening and watching around the world.

Of course, even Barbie isn’t safe from the slime.

The turtle crew shows up IRL

Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voice actors Ben Schwartz, Omar Benson Miller, and Josh Brener took the stage to give us an exclusive look at their new show:

TMNT voice actors Ben Schwartz, Omar Benson Miller, and Josh Brener present Favorite Instagram Pet award to Jiffpom. (Photo by Chris Polk/Getty Images)

Then they explained what an “insta-pet” is (an online pet that you don’t have to feed) before announcing the furry winner: Jiffpom!

I thought I knew my celeb-pets before this show, and sadly none of them were even on the shortlist…

Sugar and slime for JoJo Siwa

The spunky star performed a medley of her hits, including Kid in a Candy Store, Hold the Drama and Boomerang. The set design for this number was like the game Candy Land had come to life. Siwa bounced around stage in an rainbow tutu and leotard, reminiscent of her Dance Moms days.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the sugar rush came to an end, and Siwa’s perfectly curated pink paradise got splashed with slime.

Our Viacommunity Award winner continues to use her talent (and access) for good

Flora Huang, vice president of finance and planning for Paramount Pictures — as well as the 2017 Viacommunity Award winner — texted me prior to the show to let me know she’d be bringing along some special guests. Huang won the 2017 award, along with Nickelodeon Vice President of Ad Sales, Victor Caro, for her interminable efforts to help the world become a better place.

Flora Huang and two fellow volunteers bring mentees from the Watts Empowerment Center to the KCAs. Photo courtesy of Flora Huang.

Huang’s mission is largely kid-focused: nearly every Saturday for the past two years, she has spent time at Red Eye, a youth-mentoring program in the projects of Los Angeles. And as the Kids’ Choice Awards fell on Saturday this year, it made perfect sense to take a field trip. What better place to mentor kids in need of leadership and compassion than the Kids’ Choice Awards?

Forget making it rain. The Kids’ Choice Awards made it SNOW indoors for the first time ever!

The flakes were much bigger in person… (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Millie Bobby Brown, Camila Cabello and more winners echo Cena’s words of encouragement

Stranger Things star and Favorite TV Actress Award-winner Millie Bobby Brown took the stage immediately after Cena and let us know that she recognized her considerable platform, and felt obliged to use this privilege to celebrate and perpetuate the brilliant efforts kids are doing to make this world a better, safer place.

“There’s an amazing, supportive love and kindness in this room, and I want to encourage everyone to embrace it,” said Brown.

Favorite Breakout Artist award-winner Camila Cabello told us she arrived straight from the March for Our Lives.

In her acceptance speech, Cabello touched upon how inspired she was to be able to witness the grass-roots, kid-led action at the March, and the exuberant fandom at the KCAs, all in one day.

“The future is yours,” said Cabello. “The world is yours!”

John Cena: “Change happens when kids take charge.”

Okay, so things started off silly: Cena got stuck in the “up-slime-down” which is, for anyone living under a rock, a nod to the kid-nominated hit show Stranger Things.

Watch the intro:

Once he found his way onstage, Cena started the show by praising the millions of kids who have taken action in the March For Our Lives today. Viacom and our brands support these kids and their efforts, and it gave me chills to hear Cena’s words at the beginning of the world’s premier kids event.

“I just want to take a moment to celebrate what kids across the nation accomplished today,” said Cena. “It all happened because you wanted to make the world a better place. Change is only possible when we all work together. It is so inspiring to see kids take charge! That is the true spirit of Nickelodeon and, of course, the Kids’ Choice Awards.”

It’s showtime…see you there!

JoJo Siwa’s says her ideal spring break is…

Being right here at Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, of course, according to the School of Rock star.

Where’s John Cena?

The host has arrived…and he’s in character!

Orange carpet survival kit

So, as I mentioned, everyone is very kind and understanding on the Orange Carpet. We have all been supporting each other — letting someone get a shot of a celeb if they haven’t had the chance yet, or answering questions about new talent when someone’s getting ready for an interview. We’ve also just discovered a cooler full of ice-cold water. We had to laugh at ourselves, because it took us about half an hour to open this cooler, as we had buried it underneath camera bags and notebooks.

Everyone wants to interview “mini” Miranda Sings

No shirts, no problem

Our international influencers rock a breezy look for the Orange Carpet…

All orange everything!

And the big day is here! I arrived at the press tent at 12:30 p.m. PST, where Nickelodeon had set up a delectable buffet spread. I was too excited to eat much (and didn’t want to ruin my lipstick) but managed to enjoy some garlic hummus and pita chips. Thankfully for the talent and fellow press, I brought gum.

Now it’s time to wait for some celebs! I’m standing next to reporters from every outlet imaginable…Nylon Japan, Just Jared, Just Jared, Jr., OK!, The Hollywood Reporter, Celeb Secrets, Elle France, plus a ton of personal bloggers wearing the funkiest fashion.

Now, more than ever, the distinction between established press or celebrity and freelance or self-started stardom is becoming increasingly blurred. I think this levels the playing field, and allows for a more diverse pool of talent both on and off screen at these types of shows. You still need to bring your A-game whether you’re under contract or posting content from your cell phone. But the internet and social media have allowed more voices to contribute to this industry: something I noticed once I arrived at the KCAs, and lined up on the Orange Carpet. Everyone here is so friendly and helpful; the reporter from Elle France asked me to take a photo of her on the carpet, and I asked the duo from OK! to tell me about their outfits for a video clip.

Is this a result of today’s egalitarian media world, or the atmosphere cultivated by Nickelodeon and the KCAs? I think it’s a bit of both.

Think pink

Meredith from Tacoma has a future in curating…take a look at her pink aesthetic: the young guest took a cue from her dress, and used the rosy hue for her exclusive portrait (sketched by a Nickelodeon animator who works on The Loud House) as well as her handmade slime.

The inside scoop on the green goop

Click here for my interview with Viacom International’s Guido Bonarelli, marketing director and slime expert. He couldn’t disclose the secret ingredients, but did explain the basics behind creating your own slime.

Not the official slime expert I spoke to, but a maestro in her own right.

Slime time!

Take a look at our contest-winner, who came to Los Angeles for the KCAs with his father, all the way from Mexico! “He entered one of the contests on the web,” explained the father of this young (and ambitious) fan. Now, he’s learning to make *the* Nickelodeon slime!

On to the Burbank BBQ

We took the Santa Monica freeway from the hotel to Nickelodeon’s Burbank animation studio, hitting some rush hour traffic (it was just another classic Los Angeles insider experience, nbd) but no one seemed to care once the bus pulled up and we were greeted by SpongeBob and Patrick!

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

The beloved Nick characters put on quite a show for the young guests in our tour. These lucky kids are getting the experience of a lifetime, and I’m happy to report they truly seem to be loving every moment.

Nickelodeon’s social squad is well-heeled

*photos by @fostersnell*

After picking up my KCA welcome kit, I heard a commotion at the back of the patio area. There was a pop-up skate rink, and at least 20 people crowded around the action: some of our social influencers were showing off some far-out tricks and turns with their new custom Heelys skate shoes.

photos by @fostersnell

Heelys are one of Nickelodeon’s KCA partners, and I was stoked to see their product in motion. Heelys came out in the early 2000s, when I was in middle school. They were like transformers for your feet, and everyone wanted a pair. (I think my school may have banned them, which only upped the cool-factor by 1000 percent.)

I watched the social squad dancing and dashing around each other in their custom kicks, happy I decided to check out the excitement. I’ve always wanted to encounter an impromptu skate battle in Los Angeles (the home of OG street skating, after all). It was gnarly to watch the social squad shred like the lords of Dogtown: Heelys edition.

photos by @fostersnell

My KCA welcome kit…swag!

I adore the color palette for this year’s show…very 1970s playroom! My KCA welcome kit included this retro beach towel, which I laid out on my king-sized bed to show how massive it is:

This KCA beach towel will be my new bedspread when I get back home to New York. (The orange pillow was not part of the swag pack; it belongs to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, which is clearly in the KCA spirit, decor-wise.)

Greetings from the land of slime

Welcome to the 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards live blog, where you’ll find all the latest updates and insights from an insider: me!

I work for Viacom’s corporate communications department as a blogger, meaning it’s my job to share news about Viacom and its brands — including Nickelodeon — with the rest of the world.

Live events are such a great way to connect with fans, which is why I am so thrilled to begin live blogging, starting with the Kids’ Choice Awards. This is my first time attending or covering this sensational experience, and I hope you’ll enjoy the magic along with me.

Visit the Viacom blog here.