While there was no official host, the live performances more than made up for the absence at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center. California rapper KYLE opened the show singing his hit single “iSpy” alongside Lil Yachty, who then performed “Forever Young.” Rita Ora closed the performance with “Your Song.” Louis Tomlinson wrapped up the show with Bebe Rexha, while musical acts by Rae Sremmurd and French Montana and Clean Bandit with Zara Larsson were sprinkled in throughout the night. Simon Cowell also used the awards show to debut his newest act, boy band PrettyMuch.
Miley Cyrus was awarded the show’s highest honor, the ultimate choice award, for her decade-long involvement with Teen Choice. Though she couldn’t be in attendance, the multi-hyphenate, who had taken home 18 Teen Choice Awards prior to this year, scored four additional nominations.
Bruno Mars, who also couldn’t be at the awards show while on his 24K Magic Tour, accepted the visionary award through a video. He then surprised fans with a sneak preview of his new “Versace on the Floor” music video featuring Zendaya.
The decade award went to Maroon 5 to celebrate the band’s evolution over the past 10 years. While accepting the award, the band joked about their age. “We look really good for 38,” Adam Levine quipped. “We’re not teens, but the fact that teenagers, all of you, can appreciate what we do after all this time, from our first album coming out in 2002 — most of you hadn’t been born at that point — and so it’s so crazy we’re still doing this.”
Viewers aged 13-19 chose their favorites across 93 categories by casting their votes on varying social media platforms. However, only a handful of the surfboards were actually given out during the live broadcast.
“Riverdale” was the big winner of the television section, winning all seven of the categories for which it was nominated. Fifth Harmony also impressed, winning all three of their eligible races.
Some honorees used their speeches as a platform to spread awareness given recent events in Charlottesville, Va. “With all the injustice and hatred and everything that is happening, not only in the world but in our country right now, I need for you young people to be educated, I need you to listen, I need you to pay attention, and I need you to go ahead and understand you have a voice and it is OK to use it when you see something bad happening,” Zendaya said while accepting the award for choice summer movie actress. “Do not let people tell you what you should feel.”
Chris Pratt even surprised fans when he showed up in-person to accept his surfboard for choice Sci-Fi movie actor.
Among the presenters for the night were Adam Scott, Craig Robinson, Kumail Nanjiani, Anthony Anderson, Katherine Langford, Lucy Hale, Ne-Yo, and Fifth Harmony.