It’s slime time! The 2021 Kids’ Choice Awards were held Saturday (March 13) with Kenan Thompson taking the reins as host. For the second consecutive year, the ceremony was entirely virtual, with kids watching from home via the studio’s giant FanZone screens.
With a pair of musical numbers by Justin Bieber and appearances by everyone from Kim Kardashian, JoJo Siwa, Joshua Bassett and the reunited cast of iCarly, Nickelodeon’s classic orange blimps were handed out to stars from the worlds of music, television, movies, sports and more.
Below, Billboard rounded up all the can’t miss moments and slime-tastic surprises from the 34th annual KCAs.
Kenan Thompson as Host
In his first time hosting the kid-friendly show, Thompson was nothing short of a delight. Whether he was dressed as a giant baby or giving viewers a lesson in the history of slime by pouring green goo on pictures of the Founding Fathers and the moon landing, the comedian was all in on the wacky hijinks. And while these days, he’s best known for Saturday Night Live and his new eponymous sitcom on NBC, it was pure fun to see Thompson back in his old stomping grounds, where he first rose to fame on shows like All That! and Kenan and Kel. Here’s hoping the kids watching at home knew they were witnessing the return of OG Nickelodeon royalty.
A Double Dose of Justin Bieber
As the evening’s sole musical guest, Bieber gave the virtual audience not one, but two family-friendly performances over the course of the show. Introduced by wife Hailey Bieber, he was first joined by
Quavo and a bevy of masked back-up dancers to perform his hit single “Intentions.” (Originally, Bieber and the rapper were supposed to deliver the song at the 2020 ceremony, but were pushed off a year due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.)
Later in the show, the favorite male artist winner — and recent Billboard cover star — stepped outside to the studio’s Blimp Pad for a medley of his latest tracks “Hold On” and “Anyone,” complete with a fireworks display and a full band. Both empowering singles are set to be featured on his upcoming sixth studio album
Justice, which arrives March 19 through Def Jam Records.
BTS Wins Big
While the Biebs led the pack of this year’s nominees with five individual nods, BTS was the big winner of the evening. Accepting three awards for favorite song, favorite music group and favorite global music star, the K-pop idols appeared via satellite from “a top-secret location on the red planet.”
“What a surprise! Thank you Kids’ Choice Awards and A.R.M.Y. for giving us all these amazing awards,” RM said in the group’s acceptance speech, while J-Hope added, “You’ve shown such great love to our song ‘Dynamite.’ Thank you so much!”
Other big winners during the night included Ariana Grande, who took home favorite female artist as well favorite music collaboration with Bieber (for 2020’s “Stuck With U”) and Millie Bobby Brown, who was dually named favorite movie and TV actress — a first at the KCAs in 20 years.
All the Slime!
What would the Kids’ Choice Awards be without an iconic sliming or two? As a kid, half the fun of watching the awards was seeing which winners would get randomly drenched in the neon green goo during their acceptance speeches. This year was no exception, with Charli D’Amelio, presenter Lin-Manuel Miranda, Liza Koshy and Robert Downey, Jr. all getting slimed over the course of the show. Thompson also closed out the show by setting a new Guinness World Record for most people slimed simultaneously online.
A Special Message From VP Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris shared an endearing message while presenting the special Generation Change blimp to all the kids watching who’ve persevered through the last year of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Thank you to the young leaders for being so incredible, and for all that you do and will do. From social distancing to remote learning, you’ve been through a lot this year. But through it all, you young leaders have really stepped up,” the VP said. “You’ve worn your masks. You’ve helped out your neighbors. You’ve been role models in your community.”
Her message ended on an especially hopeful note as she shared an anecdote from her childhood. “You know, when I was young, my mother used to say, ‘Kamala, don’t just sit around and complain about things. Do something about it.’ Well you are doing something. You are creating a better future,” she said, before concluding. “Thank you for stepping up. You make us and your country so proud.”