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Nickelodeon
Will Smith will host the “The 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards” Saturday on Nickelodeon.

Stars, slime on tap for ‘Kids’ Choice’

Traditionally a 25th anniversary calls for silver, but “The 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards” requires something gloppy and green.

Yes, it’s slime time!

Will Smith hosts the live show Saturday, on Nickelodeon, where stars of music, movies, TV, sports and books win blimps rather than golden statues. Kids vote online, early and often, throughout March for their favorites in 20 categories. What other awards show honors Michael Phelps (favorite male athlete) and “Kung Fu Panda” (favorite cartoon)?

While stars are delighted to be at the Oscars, Grammys and Tonys, this is the awards show they laugh about as soon as they start talking. The “Kids’ Choice Awards” is the good-time show.

Cameron Diaz and Usher are regulars, attending every year they can, and have won multiple awards. Glamorous as she is, Diaz let loose with an enormous belch to win the inaugural burp award. It’s the honor of which she’s most proud.

Diaz and Usher both say they would love to be at USC’s Galen Center on Saturday. Both had other commitments but were happy to talk to Zap2it about why they love the “Kids’ Choice Awards.” Smith declined to do interviews.

“It is the kids,” Diaz says. “The energy in the room is like no other place, no other awards, where you walk out onstage and you cannot hear yourself think. They are so excited and don’t know how to contain themselves.”

“Any inhibitions you have about life, it all comes down completely,” Usher says. “In life, you have to be normal. It is inappropriate to burp in public. When you are there, you can do anything.”

Most who are invited as presenters or nominees try to attend. This year’s nominees include Usher, Lady Gaga, Tim Tebow, the Muppets, the Smurfs and Antonio Banderas – clearly in different categories. Jessica Alba, Tom Cruise, Kelly Kelly or Taylor Lautner will take home the KCA Blimp award for favorite buttkicker.

During the 90 minutes, expect good-natured, controlled pandemonium.

“It is not only just for the celebrities but for the kids, the entertainment and the action,” Usher says as to why the show is so popular. “The last two years have been loud for me, going to Justin Bieber concerts, and the reality of traveling all over the world, seeing screaming fans. The younger they are, the louder they are.”

Live performers include Katy Perry and others still to be announced at this writing. Last year the Black Eyed Peas took the stage. The year before, it was Bieber and Rihanna. Over the years, Pink, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Whitney Houston all performed during the madness that is the KCA.

“We stand up on these stages and for awards, and it’s all about presentation and appearance,” Diaz says. “And there, it is all about kinetic energy and kids freaking out, and you get all of their goodness blasted onto you.”

Diaz should know. Over her five visits to the KCA stage, she has truly gone with the flow. She has been noodled – when they used to dump wet noodles on people – and for publicity photos for this year, she was slimed.

“I got bah-lasted,” Diaz says. “It was really, really fun. That stuff is like Jell-O pudding, vanilla pudding and some binding stuff. It is crazy! You literally cannot see. You are looking through slime - the world through slime is a very interesting world. Everything is really fuzzy and soft!

“That day I got on a plane and went to Paris,” Diaz continues. “I slept with some residue of it in my eyes, and when I got to Paris it was just like, ‘Wow! There should have been more thought to this.’ I needed an ice bag for my eyes, and the slime is pretty wild. It is warm.”

Usher says, “Getting slimed is like no experience ever in life. The closest thing to it is a food fight or an incredible house party that gets out of control, but you can’t do that.”

“It is a very hard thing to come off,” he says. “I got it all over me, but I didn’t care. One of my greatest moments is to allow my boys to have that moment.”

Besides needing the right venue to hold the fans, Nickelodeon executives also look for an arena with a locker room and showers, says Marjorie Cohn, an executive producer, who began as a line producer on the first Nick awards show in 1988, then called “The Big Ballot.”

“We heard from some people three days later,” Cohn says. “It surfaces in places they didn’t know. They’re sweating slime a couple of days later. It does get into every pore.”

The only rule is pretty much the same as at any great kids party: Be safe and have fun.

“People do come to the awards show in the best frame of mind,” Cohn says. “There is no place for ego, no place for snarkiness or sarcasm in a mean sort of way. You walk onto that stage, and all you see are giant amounts of kids screaming your name with such joy and abandonment, and your brain is washed free of all expectation.”

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