The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards are the messiest award shows in history — and that’s a fact.
The night is filled with famous people getting slimed — yes, that means that a gushing waterfall of slick liquid shoots out of their podium at any moment to cover them head-to-toe in lime goo. The proceedings are also controlled by the Choose-O-Metre, where the kids in the audience can decide what happens by just how loud they scream.
The first Nickelodeon KCAs Abu Dhabi took place on Thursday evening. It was pre-recorded for television and had its fair share of starts and stops as cleaning crews rushed on stage to mop green slime into optimally placed vents on the stage, all in between performances by Jason Derulo, Conor Maynard and Mohammad Hamaki.
But, thankfully escaping the torrential slime, we survived to share 10 things we learned from the night, co-hosted by Derulo and Palestinian influencer Haifa Beseisso, and attended by Saudi rapper Dyler, Moroccan group Fnaire, Bollywood artist Nora Fatehi and the next generation of Hallanis.
+ Dyler is releasing a 10-track album in the next few months
The Saudi social media star and rapper, 18, has three songs so far — ‘Gareema’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Samoly’. But he told Gulf News tabloid! there’s much more where that came from. “I’m working on an album that contains 10 songs and five amazing music videos. [You can expect it] in the next upcoming months,” Dyler revealed. “Coming from YouTube to becoming an artist is a really big deal, so I’m really hyped. Musically, let’s just say [my inspirations are] Drake, Russ, Lil Uzi. I started off freestyling in English, and then I was like, okay, let’s try doing Arabic.” Dyler, who dyed his signature curly hair with pink tips for the evening, performed ‘Samoly’ while walking through the crowd and high-fiving his fans, getting right into the thick of it.
+ Conor Maynard’s second album is coming soon and it will be worth it
After a seven year wait, Maynard revealed that new music is on its way. “I’m working on the new album almost every day at the moment. It’s going to come very, very soon. And I promise it won’t disappoint you guys.” The 26-year-old British singer rose to fame by doing covers on YouTube and released his debut studio album ‘Contrast’ in 2012. As for his advice for a younger version himself? “Oh, wow, what would I say to him? I would say there’s going to be some rough rides ahead, there will be difficult times, but you’ll persevere and it’s all going to work out.”
+ Jason Derulo celebrated his 30th birthday (one day early) at the show
Of all the ways Jason Derulo could have brought in his 30th birthday, wearing a SpongeBob SquarePants onesie wasn’t one we expected. The R’n’B star, whose birthday is on September 21, somehow managed to make the yellow one-piece look good and assured us he was going to keep it. Backstage before the show, the singer was surprised with his favourite cake — cheesecake.
+ Maritta and Al Waleed Hallani learned THIS from their famous father
Asked about what wisdom Lebanese pop star Assi Al Hallani passed onto his kids, singer Maritta said: “To be ourselves and stay down-to-earth.” Her brother Al Walid is working on a new song releasing at the end of October. “Its name is ‘Eh Majnoon’, the composer is my father, Abu Al Walid,” he said. The duo find it “amazing” to work with family. “It’s the people you love, we’re supporting each other, we’re working together,” said Maritta. Al Waleed was quick to add: “No competitors!” while squeezing his sister in a big hug.
+ Kids in the UAE love Billie Eilish — a lot
Unsurprising to anyone who has paid attention to her meteoric rise, Billie Eilish won the Favourite International Star award. But, if you had any hope of knowing what the 17-year-old singer said in a pre-recorded acceptance speech, you’re out of luck — we weren’t able to hear a word of it, as the whole hall erupted into deafening cheers and screams as soon as her face appeared on screen. Eilish rose to fame with her debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ and hit singles ‘You Should See Me in a Crown’ and ‘Bad Guy’.
+ Pre-recorded award shows are a different experience
You may be used to music festivals with back-to-back performances punctuated by roadies clearing up the stage and setting up for the next act, but pre-recorded award shows are a whole ‘nother ballgame. The production was flashy, including the KCAs’ signature television screens stacked side-by-side to create one large, sprawling and enormously colourful backdrop. But there were also lulls in the programming — the equivalent of IRL commercial breaks — and some segments were repeated for the sake of recording. Luckily for Derulo fans, he did a mash-up performance of his songs (from ‘Want to Want Me’ to ‘Swalla’) not once, but twice.
+ Big Hass was the real hype man of the night
While an enthusiastic and busy Derulo and Beseisso fulfilled their co-host duties by speaking to the camera and introducing each segment, MC Big Hass was the MVP when it came to hyping the kids (and their trouper parents) and getting them to test their lung’s capacity throughout the night. The Saudi radio host kept the energy high with chants of peace, love and hip hop, helping the crowd stay energised during breaks and warming them up for the next act.
+ Fnaire and Nora Fatehi brought Bollywood to the stage
Moroccan group Fnaire collaborated with Canadian-Moroccan Fatehi, best known for her work in Bollywood, on the song ‘Dilbar’, which was nominated for Favourite Music Video. Fnaire and Fatehi put on an expressive Bollywood-inspired performance, featuring choreographed dance routines and sparkling outfits. “The cool thing about this is we’re not only representing Morocco, we’re representing Morocco and India and cross-culture music. This is one of the most honourable moments for us, to be able to do something so diverse,” Fatehi told tabloid!.
+ The stars slammed bullying and promoted kindness
“I want to thank myself for believing in myself,” Dyler said in his acceptance speech for Favourite Male Newcomer, adding: “Don’t forget to spread love not hate, and stop bullying, because it’s not cool.” The young rapper wasn’t the only one advocating for kindness. Co-host Beseisso, known online as Fly With Haifa, was wearing a shiny purple ensemble and a cape that read “love” in Arabic. Meanwhile, actress Kira Kosarin — one half of Nickelodeon’s ‘The Thundermans’ — said that outside of her career, her biggest achievement is that “as a person, I think just being a kind, good person is the thing that I’m most proud of.”
+ It took a team of 100 people to make the Nickelodeon KCAs happen
“We have an impressive team of 100 people who have been working on this for the last three months. It’s a mix of local people with people coming from the international team. It’s an amazing production,” Rafaelle Annecchino, President and Managing Director for Viacom International Networks told tabloid!, adding that they already have a good idea of next year’s event. (The global KCAs will be happening in Abu Dhabi for five years.) And who better to vouch for the event’s feel than queen of the red carpet and Scoop host Raya Abirached? “Every year, we assign crews to cover the KCAs in LA. I’m so excited there’s one here. The branding’s the same, it feels like we’re there,” said Abirached.