Inside the 'Teen Choice Awards' with One Direction, Miley Cyrus, and two teenage girls
LOS ANGELES—My ears are still ringing. Last night, one of my closest friends, her two teenage daughters and I attended the Teen Choice Awards at Gibson Amphitheater here. The show is an extremely fast-paced two-hour event that salutes teens’ favorite TV actors and shows, movie stars and films, musicians and athletes.
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I’d forgotten that teenage girls will scream at and for anything, so throughout the night, several thousand girls would raise the decibels to beyond earsplitting any time one of the following happened: 1) ANYONE associated with “Pretty Little Liars” took the stage 2) ANYTIME there was a Miley Cyrus mention or sighting 3) WHENEVER One Direction performed, accepted an award, was nominated for an award or was spotted in the audience 4) EVERY TIME a celebrity, no matter how minor--and we’re talking even “Dance Moms” level C-List, not even “Duck Dynasty" — walked through the audience and 5) They just felt like screaming, which is, pretty much, all the time.
After the show, Olivia (15), Jacqueline (13) and I (no longer a teenage) graded each of the performances and a few of the other show highlights.
One Direction: “Best Song Ever”:
Olivia: As much as I love, love love them, they kind of seemed low energy. The U.S. tour ended last night, so of course they’re tired. Good fan interaction. Grade: B
Jacqueline: It was good for them to open up. Half the crowd was teenage girls, so it got everyone excited. Grade: B
Melinda: Weak performance that they seemed to be sleepwalking through, other than a few palm slaps and one kiss with the audience. They could have tied in with the song’s amusing video and played on that. It felt like they’d already checked out after finishing the tour the night before. Grade: C -
Florida Georgia Line: “Cruise” with Nelly:
Olivia: They had better energy than One Direction. The back up dancers were weird. Did they just find those dancers? Nelly did a good job. He was in sync with them for the performance. Grade: B+
Jacqueline: I don’t like the song. The girls were tacky. The guys went off the stage, and in the audience, that was good. The girls ruined it for me. Grade: B -
Melinda: What was it with those back up dancers? (To explain a little: FGL had girls clad in bikinis in the background who seemingly were contest winners or something. Other than looking good in swimsuits, they seemed completely lost and were just vamping or tossing a beach ball lacklusterly to each other.). Good energy, but not a great vocal and the song, which is the longest running No. 1 on the Billboard country charts ever, has worn out its welcome. Even they seem a little tired of it. Grade: B -
Demi Lovato: “Made In The U.S.A.” with Nick Jonas:
Olivia: I liked that she was with (ex-boyfriend) Nick Jonas. I thought back to “Camp Rock. “ I thought she sounded really good live. Grade: B+
Jacqueline: She had high energy. Everyone loves her. Her story is touching, her dad died, everyone’s sympathetic towards her right now. She’s really good live. Grade: B+
Melinda: She has a really great voice and seems to be leading a revival of ‘80s fashion. She’s a genuine performer who connected with the audience. Grade: B+
Paramore: “Still Into You”
Olivia: Really good performance. I liked the ballet dancers. (Lead singer) Hayley (Williams) is a really really good singer, She seemed really excited to be there and genuinely happy to get the award (for Choice Rock Group). Grade: A
Jacqueline: She’s crazy, her dance moves were all over the place. And I liked the ballet dancers. Grade: A
Melinda: Best performance of the night with great energy. Hayley really worked the stage and, while I had my doubts that she was singing live the whole time, toward the end she hit some great notes. Adorable choreography with the ballet dancers and the balloons. It was fun to watch the stage crew frantically pop all the balloons during the commercial break. Grade: A
We also talked about a few other stand-out moments. We were all touched by Lea Michele’s acceptance speech for Choice TV Actress, which she turned into a speech about her "Glee" co-star/boyfriend Cory Monteith and his passing.
I was appalled by Rebel Wilson’s comment, which I believe was bleeped out. She accepted her award for Teen Choice Comedy Movie Actress in a wet suit, which was delightful (The award is a surf board) right after One Direction’s performance, and said in her speech, “You know what’s weird? When I found there was a band named One Direction. Because that’s what I call my asshole.” Whether it’s a sexual and/or scatalogical comment, a diss on the band or both, it wasn’t edgy, it was stupid and inappropriate, especially for a show that caters to 13 year olds. It didn’t bother Olivia and Jacqueline as much as it bothered me. “That’s her thing,” said Jacqueline. “I thought she was funny, but I didn’t think that comment was funny,” Olivia said.
All three of us really liked Ashton Kutcher’s speech for Ultimate Teen Choice Award, presented primarily, it would seem, in order to plug his new movie, “Jobs,” though, in fairness, he has 16 TCAs, more than anyone else on the planet.
Kutcher, playing up his “geriatric” status at the Awards, really tried to deliver some advice and it was good advice, about how “opportunity looks a lot like hard work” (not that he’s the first to have said that) and how hard he worked at every job, whether it was carrying shingles or acting. “I never had a job in my life that I was ‘better than’,” he said. He talked about how being “really smart and generous” is what’s sexy (nice message, but we’ll see if he dates a benevolent rocket scientist next or a supermodel), and about “building a life,” and believing you can do anything. And the audience listened, especially Jacqueline, who gave his speech an A, and Olivia, who gave it an A-, and really liked the part about “your personality is what’s sexy.” That’s a message that teenage girls can’t hear enough.
And if we didn’t agree on everything, we did agree on the hottest man in the room: “Vampire Diaries’” Ian Somerhalder. He blew a kiss in their direction and I think they’re still swooning a little, as would I.