What separates Nickelodeon's 14th annual Kids' Choice Awards from the myriad of other kudofests? "I think what sums it up is right here on the red carpet to my left a cow doing interviews," cracked MTV host Carson Daly, referring to a reporter donning a bovine suit. "You don't see a cow at the Grammys."
Something else you don't typically see at music's biggest night: Tom Cruise. The Mission: Impossible actor was host Rosie O'Donnell's Super Secret Surprise Guest on Saturday's live telecast in which 15 million young people voted for their faves in music, movies, TV and sports. Cruise picked up Wannabe honors the newest Choice award given to an entertainer kids most want to be. (Clearly they never saw Eyes Wide Shut.)
"There's two things that my mother instilled in me when I was growing up: Work hard and be kind to others," Cruise told the audience of screaming kids packed into Santa Monica's Barker Hangar (aka Space Station Slime). Moments later, he was "duped" by No. 1 fan O'Donnell into throwing the switch that unleashed a vat of green goo on him. (O'Donnell on the mend from a life-threatening staph infection to her hand presided over the program for the fifth year in a row.)
Daly the prince of Total Request Live who cited bacon as his after-school snack of choice walked away with honors for Favorite TV Actor (a backhanded compliment if ever there was one). What does his fiancée, Tara Reid (Josie and the Pussycats), think of all of his adoring fans? "It's pretty tough to get jealous of a 12-year-old who rollerskates up to you batting her eyelashes," he assures.
Charlie's Angels star Cameron Diaz won the first-ever celebrity burp-off, held during red carpet arrivals. In her acceptance speech, she called this award one of her "proudest moments... I will keep on forging forward to continue to give you the best belches that I possibly can."
The award was presented by another Angel: Jessica Alba of Fox's Dark Angel. Backstage, the Golden Globe nominee who was defeated by singer Aaron Carter in the Rising Star category admitted that, "I'm just disappointed that I didn't get a good burp in when I [gave the award to Diaz]."
Rob Schneider handed out the Favorite Movie Actress trophy to Diaz's Angels co-star, Drew Barrymore. Prior to the show, Schneider told TV Guide Online that ex-Survivor cutie Colleen Haskell his leading lady in the upcoming comedy The Animal has a real shot at stardom. "She's a natural and has no bad habits... that I know of," he deadpanned. "She's who we wanted [for the role] way before the whole Survivor thing." (Um, right.)
And despite her big victory, Barrymore was in fightin' form backstage blasting a certain late-night sketch comedy show for its treatment of her and new hubby Tom Green. "Saturday Night Live has been sort of unfunny and mean-spirited lately for my tastes," she confessed to reporters. "When they mocked our house burning down... I couldn't watch it. It's too painful. I can't sit there and think, 'That's just so funny.'"