On Wednesday night, CBS aired the 40th anniversary of the People's Choice Awards, hosted by network stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. The public chose the winners of the awards, which were given out across music, movies, and television to big names like Robert Downey Jr., Sandra Bullock, Adam Sandler, and Britney Spears. But the real highlights of the show were the numerous head-scratching moments that left us wondering what we were watching and why they were watching it.
The People's Choice Awards are heavily produced; the telecast is a slick two hours. Awards presented on-air are seemingly determined by who will be there to accept. It seems that the winners know they're going to win, which the show made no attempt to hide.
The show broke the "fourth wall" of surprised winners over and over. From Robert Downey Jr. commanding a light cue, to Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev's carefully rehearsed acceptance speech, to Adam Sandler's planned joke about Drew Barrymore who was also on stage, there was no feigning shock or surprise. All this was to be expected, but at least the show's producers could have kept up the charade.
The first hour of the show included a taped bit featuring Tim Gunn. It seemed like a straightforward comedy routine with Gunn helping a man in need. Surely it was headed for some jokes, right? Wrong. It was a Walgreens commercial in the middle of the show. Very sneaky People's Choice Awards. Guess you had to make your money somehow?
All award shows require their hosts to do some funny bits. Berhs and Dennings seemed to have the witty banter down, but their singing segment around the one-hour mark was just painful. Berhs is a fine singer, but for the more wacky songs ("Wrecking Ball," "Baby Got Back") she was trying too hard. Then you had the whole set up of this segment, which purported that Dennings was reading requests off Twitter. How could they have the backing tracks if these were all by request? Even though Dennings explained at the end it was a ruse, the bit couldn't be saved.
On the other hand it gave us this fabulous Britney Spears GIF.
Another popular award show trope is the video sketch that incorporates the nominees. Behrs and Dennings took a stab at it with a video segment that saw their 2 Broke Girls diner being flooded with nominees. Setting aside the blurring of reality and television, the very premise was flimsy and the execution wasn't tongue-in-cheek enough to sustain itself. To add insult to injury, the show replaced the cast of Orange Is the New Black with anonymous lookalikes, and brought in random zombies for The Walking Dead.
This is less bizarre and more awesome, but completely worth mentioning. After winning three awards, thanking Jessica Biel, and reminding the fellas to put their dishes in the dishwasher, Justin left the People's Choice Awards to grab some Taco Bell. As shown in two incredible Instagram shots, Timberlake proves he knows how to celebrate an award show win. No, this didn't happen at the show itself, but come on, look at that picture.
Our final weird moment came early on in the show when Brad Paisley took the stage to perform "The Mona Lisa". All seemed right with the country singer until he ventured off stage and into the crowd. He then proceeded to grab an iPhone from a group of women in the front row and snap a photo of them. The song kept playing on and he continued to sing. Hey, if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, more power to you.