No one is expecting the Teen Choice Awards to be the year’s most innovative TV broadcast… but couldn’t the creative team come up with a slightly more original name than Choicey for its surfboard-wielding panda mascot? For the poor soul stuck in that furry outfit all night, it’s just adding insult to injury.
MOST UNCOMFORTABLE SURPRISE
The first awards of the night went to Pretty Little Liars‘ Lucy Hale and Janel Parrish (for Choice Drama TV Actress and Choice TV Villain, respectively). But the actresses thought they were taking the stage to introduce YouTube personality Jake Paul, and the few silent seconds they spent looking confused on stage, before getting surprised with their surfboards, were some of the evening’s most awkward.
MOST OVERDONE JOKE
We thought Kumail Nanjiani and Michael Peña had fulfilled the evening’s quota for fidget spinner jokes… until Adam Scott and Craig Robinson did an almost-identical bit just moments later. Teen Choice writers, you can do better.
CUTEST FAN REACTION
After revealing Fifth Harmony as the Choice Music Group winner, three young fans stuck around via FaceTime to see the quartet accept their surfboard — and we couldn’t take our eyes off their adorably starstruck expressions. Special shout-out to the kid in the front, who never took his hand away from his mouth (because he was too busy living for this moment, we assume).
MOST MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
On an evening full of inspirational, embrace-your-weirdness acceptance speeches, Zendaya’s stood out as one of the most timely and poignant. “I need you to be educated, I need you to listen, I need you to pay attention,” the actress told her young fans, encouraging them to be knowledgeable about current events and use their voices to take a stand. Zendaya: living proof that a moving speech can be delivered while clutching a surfboard.
MOST CONVINCING SKIT
During their brief time on stage, Kaitlin Olson and Thomas Barbusca were so committed to their bit — about the importance of giving out snacks at an award show — that we almost mistook it for a scene in The Mick. (Storming the Teen Choice stage is totally something Mackenzie Murphy would do to humiliate her niece and nephews, right?)
MOST MILLENNIAL MOMENT
Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist and The Flash‘s Grant Gustin deserved so much better than dancing alongside a computer-generated Snapchat filter. But we have to respect the Teen Choice Awards for achieving peak teen-ness at this point in the broadcast.
We need to amend what we said in an earlier slide: While we do pity whomever had to don Choicey the Panda’s outfit on Sunday night, we feel even worse for ex-Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, who had to kiss it. Who knows how many takes this digital short required?
MOST INAPPROPRIATE TEASER
Sure, the teaser for Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor” music video barely showed any real footage… but when a song features such lyrics as, “Let’s just kiss ’til we’re naked,” we’re not so sure impressionable teens were the best audience for this sneak preview.
MOST SHOCKING APPEARANCE
Frankly, our jaws hit the floor when we realized Chris Pratt was actually there at the ceremony, just days after publicly announcing his separation from wife Anna Faris. We wouldn’t have blamed Pratt for joining Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson and Beyoncé in the Celebs Who Didn’t Show category, but he earns major kudos for showing up and delivering a funny, self-deprecating acceptance speech.