“I’m completely shocked about everything. Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were fantastic. Lindsay Lohan is a gay tw*t! I hate her, she is a complete bit*h! Lets all throw stones at her. Everyone in favour shout/type I! Thanks for your support. I’m in love with Britney Spears – where was she?! Chad-Micheal-murray *-*DROOLS* Byeeeeeee! c u all soon!! chickinssss xxx :) <3"
Well Mandy, Britney couldn’t make the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, either. Her ’04 absence went unexplained – maybe she was out of Salem Lights, and just couldn’t deal – but this year we know it’s because she got Federlined a few chaotic months back, and is busy knitting up baby do-rags and cute miniaturized versions of her husband’s trademark oversized denim shorts. Hopefully we’ll see Brit, Bit Bit, K-Fed and baby on a future episode of “MTV Cribs.” Lindsay was also a no-show in 2005. Damn, did you really organize that stoning party you were in “favour” of? Brilliant! Well, even if you didn’t, it hasn’t been the best year for Lindsay. Her December ’04 album was a sickening breach of humanity’s social contract; she ventured fully loaded into “Wild On Tara” land; and Disney thought it better to digitally reduce her. I don’t know if that makes her more of a tw*t or less (in Disney’s view, certainly the latter), but regardless, a flaxen-haired preschooler with the platinum syllabic handle of Hayden Panettiere was happy to take her place at this year’s event. As for Nicole Ritchie, she was in attendance, too. But she was standing sideways the whole time, so no one saw her.
Panettiere stood on the frantically blinking, geometrical Super Simon stage at the 2005 TCAs, ready to bestow Ashton Kutcher with a “Most Teen Choice Awards…Ever!” surfboard. Kutcher’s grand total is something like 11 or 12, and includes tough wins in categories like “Choice TV Hottie” and “Choice Pretending Every Celebrity in the World Knows Who the Fuck I Am When I Jump Out of a Tree and Say ‘It’s All a Gag, Silk the Shocker!'” But as her co-presenter Raven Symone blabbed in mock anger about having once been punk’d, Panettiere’s tiny diamond eyes clouded into obsidian. “I want to be punk’d!” she said with a stamp of her foot, and it was clear she viewed it as her agent-given right, an accessory to stardom. As she watched Kutcher corral some poor audience geek into his clodding acceptance speech bit, Panettiere’s proto-Punk’d rage leveled off. She only imagined severing Ashton’s Achilles’ tendon with her ambition-sharpened teeth, only estimated how much publicity she’d garner for auctioning off parts of her million-dollar name. But the desire didn’t subside. I will be on “Punk’d,” Hayden thought. And then all of my wildest dreams will come true.
John Heder needs to be careful. He improvised some Napoleon Dynamite-speak onstage at the TCAs, and it was mildly funny. But as Dynamite itself is sliced up and lamely immortalized as hundreds of radio morning show drops, Heder’s gotta move forward. He grew a beard, and an upcoming movie features him as the Whoopie to Reese Witherspoon’s Patrick Swazye. (Or something.) That’s a start, but Typecast Road is a tough go. Look at Rushmore’s Jason Schwartzman. He’s played a speed freak and started a rock band, and he’s only succeeded at becoming a manic and dank-haired Dustin Hoffman acolyte.
Evidently there are still *DROOLS* for WB star Chad Michael Murray – at the TCAs, the adoring preteen screams grew louder with his every stolid utterance into the microphone. (Mandy, in case you didn’t see the show, Murray took home Choice Male Hottie, as well as Choice Movie Actor for his gripping work in House of Wax.) At least Murray seemed to be quietly laughing about the whole affair, though. Jesse McCartney, a frail blonde towhead with his own WB credits and an album positioning him as a contemporary Leif Garrett, walked onstage and thanked the fans for getting him there. Where? Sure, he has a new record coming out in September. But McCartney’s sub-Hanson prettiness doesn’t guarantee much into his twenties. Maybe sharing an apartment with Jonathan Lipnicki, but that’s about it. “Hey Jon! What time do you have to be at Quiznos? Can you drive me down to this audition in the San Fernando Valley? No, I don’t know what it’s for.”
And now a quick commercial break.
JC Penney swears that if you spin the 1991 Black Sheep hit “Choice is Yours” for tweens, they’ll start busting dance moves like a Little Rascals remake of Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control” video. Tired of inventing food (“The new Fundito Salami Sandwich Taco Face! Eat out the bean curd eyes!”), Taco Bell has become a hawker of the senses. Their menu items are now “textural taste sensations.” They’re “Cruncheweezy.” They transform into knives inside our stomachs. Verizon Wireless is pushing ringback tones; they hope to offer speaking bubble holograms shaped like your favorite celebrity’s head by the 2006 Teen Choice Awards.
OK, back to the show.
Hilary Duff was wearing too much mascara, her face a sallow hexagon underneath a giant swoop of bangs. She is, however, a natural in front of the camera. Somehow that girl made the lamest setups with her bug-eyed leach of a co-host Rob Schneider seem effortlessly off the cuff. Hilary’s already beaten the Britney/Lindsay flameout. But we’ll see if she can navigate the multilateral marketing initiatives (not to mention that dead weight of a sister) and come out looking like Mandy Moore, shining on the arm of Vinnie Chase, ridiculous teen-pop charm attacks a thing of the past. Elsewhere at the TCAS, Fox pushed its fall lineup (“I’m Kristen Cohen, and I’m an alcoholic…”), and the Black Eyed Peas performed their awkward form of Broadway pop-rap. One of the Pussycat Dolls lip-synched her way through “Don’t Cha,” a coochie-coochie non-song that’s nevertheless tearing up the charts. (The other five Dolls moved their shoulders around capably.) For the sake of the children, the raven-haired PCD representative focused on the track’s “hot like me” line, instead of its more obvious rhetorical partner “don’t cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me.” Wait, does she mean that she’s Jevon Kearse?
“Don’t Cha”‘s popularity as compared to its utter flimsiness – it’s really just a horn break, drum programming, and some rudimentary salaciousness – defines the Teen Choice Awards’ narrow band of glittering stardust. You can’t fault the show for being unreal; it’s rare that anything is genuine anymore, so there’s nothing to compare it to in a question of the TCAs’ “realness.” But each year the event gets sadder, because the newly-hatched pixies are fighting over that slim seven-figure window with two, three, or four-year veterans who have nowhere to graduate to. But don’t feel like you have to send them a personal check or something – the bottleneck always breaks. And when it does, the next cast of the “Surreal Life” rides out of the sunset under color TV screens.
Be sure to catch up on all the previous coverage of the TCAs: Youth Is a Strobe Light Blinking Faster And Faster (2002); Cool Like That? (2003); and Your Guide to the Fetal Position (2004).