Like all award shows with “choice” in the name, the 2015 Teen Choice Awards were for the fans as selected by the fans. This year, the annual event took it to another level: The kids would be responsible for picking the categories, too. This lead to the Vine famous and Instagram aware cleaning house — the future’s rockstars who never had to pick up an instrument.
When the Teen Choice Awards begin, they do so with the cast of Straight Outta Compton. The music doc is a point of pride in Los Angeles — the flyers litter downtown. Inside, the sentiment is felt throughout. While most of the attendees are far too young to remember the iconic N.W.A album, the legacy resonates. They greet everyone, we cheer, they file off stage, and 5 Seconds of Summer take their place.
The Australian group dance the line between boy band and pop-punk like very few bands before them, but their latest hit, “She’s Kinda Hot,” fits healthily in the latter camp. Their performance is explosive and refined — they know this isn’t their gig, but they’ll take as much attention as we’ll let them have.
Moments after they exit, the first award is given: Ellen DeGeneres wins Choice Comedian. She cracks a few jokes at the expense of adults everywhere, and concludes with “I didn’t used to feel chosen,” explaining that the stuff that makes you weird in adolescence is the same stuff that makes you great as an adult. It’s a sentiment that carries throughout the evening (Wiz Khalifa attempts to do the same, even when he completely ignores the teleprompter.)
Because the awards are designed by teens, they’re weirdly specific and all encompassing: The second award was Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi, perhaps designed so both Hemsworth brothers could go head to head. It proves to be futile: The undeniably adorable Josh Hutcherson wins with The Hunger Games series.
Soon after the actor drags his surfboard award off stage with him, Little Mix take over with their hit, “Black Magic.” The set reflects their music video, each lady in their nerd clothes, eventually disrobing into fancy, fun, flirty and cool duds. It, too, reflects the message of the night: These kids can do anything. LM won Choice Music Breakout Artist, their first U.S. award ever. It appears that even after her engagement to former One Direction hottie Zayn Malik was called off, Perrie Edwards and her band of merry women are sitting pretty. The group went on to join the TCA winners’ circle.
The other girl group, the one who the Mixers tend to rival, Fifth Harmony, were given the honor of introducing Britney Spears. The teen pop legend took home the Candie’s Style Icon award, and we were all gifted an slideshow of Spears’ history with the TCAs, including the very first year, 1999. She spends the majority of her acceptance speech talking about her kids, thanking them. It’s what all the older acts do: Ludacris and Vin Diesel included. When you age out of adolescence, you celebrate the new lives you’re a part of.
Counting out the wins, there was one clear boss: One Direction. The British and Irish boyband ruled the night taking out eight awards, including Choice Music Group: Male and Choice Song: Group. Taylor Swift and Fifth Harmony collected multiple wins and Ed Sheeran took home TCA glory. Wiz Khalifa also had a big night with his hit “See You Again” (feat. Charlie Puth) claiming a handful of categories, while ELF won Choice Fandom. Empire won Choice TV: Breakout Show while “Vine star” Shawn Mendes took out Choice Web Star: Music.
The night concluded with a performance of the Flo Rida and Robin Thicke collabo, “I Don’t Like It I Love It.” The tune lives up to its title, and the very energy that exists through the Teen Choice Awards: Here, enthusiasm is king.