Featuring A-list winners including Chris Pratt, Adam Sandler and Joey King, along with a performance from Migos, the show also included a deeper look at the live-action Disney remake of Aladdin, which is set to hit theaters in May. Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud descended from the theater — flying-carpet style — to release a new trailer and encourage the audience to make magical wishes.
Ahead of the KCAs, Massoud told The Hollywood Reporter on the orange carpet that despite the initial criticism surrounding the film — largely focused on the appearance of Smith as a non-blue Genie — “since our last trailer the reaction has been mostly positive and, you know, people have such an attachment to this film, so it’s difficult whenever you want to reimagine a story like that. Honestly I think people are going to love the film — if they liked the trailer they’re going to love the film, so I’m excited for people to see it.”
In another unveiling, Eugenio Derbez made an appearance on the kudocast to premiere the first trailer for the upcoming live-action take on Dora the Explorer, titled Dora and the Lost City of Gold. Derbez, who plays a mysterious jungle inhabitant in the pic, took the stage along with co-stars Michael Pena and Isabela Moner, who plays Dora.
On the carpet, the actor admitted that as it was his first time at the KCAs, “everything is so different from the normal award shows. I like it, but I’m a little bit scared of getting slimed.” Of his upcoming film, Derbez said that although it’s based on a children’s cartoon, “it’s a big-screen action adventure movie with a lot of heart and especially a lot of humor” and will appeal to teens and adult audiences as well. He also revealed they shot Dora in the jungles of Australia and were surrounded by poisonous snakes and bugs on set, so “we were risking our lives every single day.”
While DJ Khaled served as emcee for the awards show, YouTube star JoJo Siwa was his right-hand woman as KCA correspondent. She told THR that they had tons of rehearsals to get everything ready for the big night and that “a lot of my friends are here tonight, it’s like a big family reunion.” Inside the show, held at USC Davidson Conference Center, Siwa was one of the most popular stars in attendance, with dozens of young girls copying her signature bow and colorful look.
As per KCA tradition, the night quickly turned into a slime fest, with Pratt, Smith, Sandler, Khaled, Josh Peck and David Dobrik all ultimately covered in the green goo. As soon as the cameras cut, crewmembers rushed out to the celebrities, offering multiple towels and walking them safely offstage and to an area where they could, presumably, wash off. Dozens of backstage workers also appeared with mops as soon the slime was sprayed, sometimes cleaning up just inches outside the camera’s view.
During commercial breaks, Nickelodeon’s signature orange blimps floated around inside the auditorium, capturing footage of the crowd, as staff members threw KCA T-shirts into the audience and encouraged everyone to dance. Near the stage, celebrities mingled, including Siwa hugging and chatting with (newly minted late-night host) Lilly Singh, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse star Shameik Moore hanging with rapper T.I. and Jennifer Hudson taking photos with young fans.
At one moment in the awards show, announcers said Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart would be taking the stage to promote their upcoming film The Secret Life of Pets 2, which was met with huge applause from the audience. That turned out to be a joke, though, as instead animals were brought out in their place, and the crowd reacted with groans and disappointment.
Later, the award for Favorite Funny TV Show went to Fuller House, which stars Lori Loughlin, who is currently deeply involved in the college admissions scandal. Loughlin’s photo was not included in the cast photo shown onscreen (although castmembers John Stamos and Bob Saget were also not featured), and she was not in attendance to receive the prize. The cast did seem to reference her current troubles, though, as Candace Cameron-Bure spoke about the importance of family and how “they stick together through the hard times, they support each other, they encourage one another, they pray for each other and they stand by their side no matter how tough it gets.”
The KCA ceremony, which was also attended by Zachary Levi, Janelle Monae, Caleb McLaughlin, Jason Sudeikis, Noah Centineo, Lana Condor and Tyga, was followed by an afterparty at the Shrine Auditorium, with a photo booth, video game station, crafting section, dance floor and DJ.
March 25, 1:25 p.m. This story has been updated to clarify Eugenio Derbez’s role in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.