The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards know their audience. They know that their fans love nothing more than to see their favorite stars get slimed. And they know that kids don’t have long attention spans, so they brought the show in at a taut 90 minutes.
This year’s installment of the Kids’ Choice Awards that dates back to 1987 (Madonna and Phil Collins were the inaugural winners of favorite female and male artist, respectively) was held on Saturday (March 4) at 7 p.m. (ET/PT), live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Nate Burleson and Charli D’Amelio, the show featured performances by Bebe Rexha, Lil Baby and Young Dylan, the star of Nickelodeon’s Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan.
Special honors were given to “King of Comedy” Adam Sandler and Transformers’ Optimus Prime. The latter award was presented by Pete Davidson, Dominique Fishback and Anthony Ramos, cast members from the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
A few artists turned their appearances into family affairs. Lil Baby’s kids joined him for a performance of his hit “California Breeze.” And hosts Burleson and D’Amelio were joined by their families on stage for a grand finale sliming.
Lil Uzi Vert also upped the kid appeal of his appearance by engaging in a drum-off with 8-year-old drumming prodigy, Justin Wilson II.
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2023 will encore on Sunday (March 5) at 6 p.m. on Nickelodeon; Monday (March 6) at 7 p.m. on TeenNick; and Tuesday (March 7) at 8 p.m. on Nicktoons. The show will also be available on Nickelodeon on Demand beginning Sunday (March 5).
Here are the eight best moments from the 2023 Kids’ Choice Awards.
Rule 1: There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Slime
Sandler capped his acceptance speech by saying “Thank you for not sliming me tonight. I can’t stand that stuff.” He fooled no one with that remark. The sliming commenced right on cue. Chris Pine, slimed while presenting a clip from Dungeons & Dragons, said “You know, it doesn’t taste too bad, I got to say.” Melissa McCarthy was slimed by her The Little Mermaid co-stars Awkwafina and Halle Bailey, in a dunk tank filled with over 1,500 gallons of the green goo.
Snub: Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick
Both of those sequels received Oscar nominations for best picture, but they lost favorite movie here to another sequel with bigger kid appeal, Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Surprise: Joshua Bassett, Dove Cameron Go Deep in Acceptance Speeches
You tune into the Kids’ Choice Awards for epic slimings, not for meaningful acceptance speeches, but sometimes you get them anyway. Bassett spoke at length about his Christian faith and how it has changed his life. Cameron spoke about how she grew up feeling she was an outsider. She told her young fans that if they too are sensitive and have deep, complicated feelings, “You just might be an artist in the making.”
Snub: Harry Styles’ Harry’s House
Harry’s House won album of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 28 and at the Grammys on Feb. 5. It also took best British album at the Brits six days later, but it lost favorite album here to Taylor Swift’s Midnights (3am edition). Harry’s House and Midnights were released in different Grammy eligibility years. Swift’s album will probably be a major Grammy player next year.
Not Really a Surprise, but Noteworthy
Several of this year’s winners are probably older than the kids’ parents. It’s noteworthy that these performers and athletes have such strong support from kids even as they move through middle age. Sandler, who received a special King of Comedy award, is 56; The Rock, who won both favorite movie actor and favorite voice from an animated movie (male), is 50; Serena Williams, who took favorite female sports star, is 41; LeBron James, who took favorite male sports star, is 38. Even Swift is 33.
Not a Surprise, but Nice to See: Dove Cameron Gets Her Due
Dove Cameron won favorite breakout artist. She also won new artist of the year at the American Music Awards and best new artist at the MTV Video Music Awards. These awards make up for the fact that she was passed over for a best new artist nod at the Grammys. None of the other nominees here were Grammy-nominated for best new artist, either. They were: Devon Cole, GAYLE, Joji, Lauren Spencer-Smith and Nicky Youre.
Surprise: Harry Styles and Taylor Swift
To be clear, it was not a surprise that these megastars each won multiple awards. But it was a surprise that they didn’t accept their awards, even virtually. Kids are a big part of both of their fanbases. Sending a video wouldn’t have killed them. Styles won favorite song for “As It Was.” He’s the first three-time winner in that category, counting two earlier wins with One Direction (for “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Story of My Life.” BTS also could have sent in a video. They became the first four-time winners of favorite group. (They moved ahead of three-time category champs Black Eyed Peas, One Direction and Fifth Harmony.)
No Surprise: Olivia Benson Smith
Kids’ Choice voters are so fond of Swift they even gave an award to her cat. Olivia Benson Swift won favorite celebrity pet, beating out Dodger Evans, Gino Chopra Jonas, Noon Coleman, Piggy Lou Bieber and Toulouse Grande. That would have been a charming and very relatable moment on the show.