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Child's Play

Bring on the slime! The tots have their say at the Kids’ Choice Awards.

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The invitation stated ”dress to mess.” That was the first sign that Nickelodeon’s 15th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards, which aired live April 20 from Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar, was not going to be your father’s awards show. Further proof: The traditional red carpet was ditched for Nick’s signature orange—much to the dismay of some celebs. ”I prefer the red,” lamented 7th Heaven‘s Catherine Hicks. ”This sort of looks like motel carpet.” Later, six-time host Rosie O’Donnell coerced surprise guest Adam Sandler into the gooey sliming booth. And the after-party featured a bungee trampoline and a make-your-own-cupcake station. Needless to say, the event brought out everyone’s inner child. Jennifer Love Hewitt, for one, confessed to her obsession with ”buying toys. I like remote-controlled boats,” she said. ”I take [them] to my brother’s. We race them in the pool.” While presenters (winners were selected online and via telephone by 19 million voters) included Matt Damon, Will Smith, Mike Myers, and The Rock, and performers were Pink, Usher, and B2K, the real stars were the show’s 2,000 screaming kids. ”I was born and raised with crocodiles,” said Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. ”They’re a piece of cake. But kids are so…unpredictable.”