Taking place at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, the People's Choice Awards (watch the full show here) were poised to be a big and buzzworthy with a masked and vaxxed in-person audience—a stark contrast to last year's entirely virtual affair. Hosted by SNL funnyman Kenan Thompson, big names were on-hand to present, while even bigger names were nominated. We missed this!
Perhaps the biggest name and most prominent presence of the night was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Not only was he crowned the People’s Champion, he continued to prove himself worthy of the honour, dedicating the trophy to his guest, Shushana, whom he brought onstage and introduced as a Make-A-Wish recipient.
"Being here tonight with us and with you guys, this is her wish," he explained on stage. "She has no idea I’m doing this. This is a total surprise."
“I met her earlier," he continued. "I told her how inspired I was by her story. She is a survivor, she has fought literally for her life, she has inspired her family, friends. I want to tell you just how much you’ve inspired me and everyone around you and certainly everyone here. I want to give you this because you represent everything that it means to be a People’s Champion so this is for you."
Before the dedication, Johnson had explained why Make-A-Wish was so significant for him. It all has to do with the original People's Champion—Muhammad Ali.
"I first met Muhammad when I was a little boy and he was so cool to me. He was so kind and he was so funny. He was always wonderful to me," The Rock shared. "The last time I saw Muhammad, we were at a Make-a-Wish event and we were both granting wishes. His last words to me were, ‘You keep rumbling.'"
"Years later to be standing here with you guys, you voted me the People’s Champion, this irony is not lost on me because I realize that what it means to be the People’s Champion is so much bigger than me. You treat people good, you treat people kind. You take care of people. You’re inclusive of people, all people, all colours, it doesn’t matter," he said.
And that moving moment wasn't even the only time The Rock was honoured at the PCAs that night. He also took home the awards for Male Movie Star and Comedy Movie Star for Jungle Cruise. He took the opportunity winning the latter to shout out his scene partner, the incomparable Emily Blunt.
"I will say that when it comes to comedy, maybe I'm decently funny," Johnson said. "I can tell a decent dirty joke, especially when I have too much tequila. But I will say that with comedy, it always takes a great partner."
"This one goes out to this woman who is one of the greatest actors of our generation," he continued. "She's brilliant, she's funny and she's almost as flthy as me when she drinks tequilla. Emily Blunt, this is for you."
In fact, it was a lovefest all around with the couples walking the red carpet and making us believe in love again. Superstar comedienne Chelsea Handler and boyfriend Jo Koy were #relationshipgoals on the red carpet, as they addressed their burgeoning relationship depicted in Chelsea Lately where she gave him a hard time as a way of "flirting."
He affectionately rubbed her back as she admitted to Laverne Cox, "I saw him through a completely different lens, and was like, 'that's my guy!'"
Later, as she stood at the PCA podium for the Comedy Act of 2021 award for her tour Vaccinated and Horny, she gushed, "Everything's sweeter in life because I have Jo Koy with me . . . we get to go home together and have more fun there!"
Bachelor in Paradise bartender-hunk Wells Adams and Sarah Hyland were very much in love as they arrived, hyping each other up for the paps, and even hinted they might elope?
Almost paradise! Bachelor franchise stars Serena P. and Grocery Store Joe made their red carpet debut after getting engaged at the end of Bachelor in Paradise this year, and she was reppin' Markham, Ontario with style.
sex/life co-stars Adam Demos and Sarah Shahi made their relationship red carpet official.
Bachelorette Katie Thurston, fresh from her split with ex-fiance Blake Moynes (Hamilton, Ontario still loves ya buddy), and now with former-contestant John Hersey, made sure to get in a good cuddle on the red carpet.
And our new FAVOURITE duo might just be Marvel "friends from work," Simu Liu and Tom Hiddleston who were laughing it up like BFFs on the side stage.
From love to work, let's not forget we were here to celebrate the artists chosen specifically by fans. Canada's own Justin Bieber (and TimBieb mastermind) was the most nominated across 10 categories, including male artist of 2021 and song of 2021 for "Peaches." Pickering, Ontario's Shawn Mendes was nominated alongside Justin for male artist of 2021.
Canada was definitely not forgotten as the awards were handed out. Simu Liu won action movie star of 2021, exclaiming "Holy crap!" in the most Canadian fashion ever.
He then spoke about being true to yourself and giving yourself permission to follow your dreams.
"I went to school for finance and accounting," Liu recalled. "It was because I didn't give myself permission to have the courage inside me to pursue what I truly wanted." Of course, we all know he switched professions, to much success. He capped off his speech by encouraging viewers to be their authentic selves.
Simu later ascended the stage again to accept the award for action movie of the year for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Cardi B, fresh off her hosting stint from the AMAs, presented the People's Icon award to Halle Berry, who recently made her directorial debut with Netflix's Bruised. Halle was so excited to receive the award, it looks like she forgot it on the podium. Mistakes were made…
Christina Aguilera received the inaugural Music Icon award, performing a medley of her most iconic hits from the past 20+ years, like "Genie in a Bottle," "Beautiful," "Fighter," and "Dirty," all while haunting string musicians in black masks performed around her like sentries. And how did she pull off three costume changes without us figuring out how? Like, HOW?
Kim Kardashian West received the Fashion Icon award, thanking ex-husband Ye for introducing her to fashion. Recounting how she started off as a closet organizer to the stars, like Paris Hilton, she said receiving the award was a dream come true.
"It's like a pinch-me moment!" she exclaimed. And she walked the stage like it was a fashion catwalk in an all-black velvet catsuit. Those sunglasses tho….
Later, when Kim and the Kardashian/Jenner clan accepted Keeping Up With The Kardashians' award for the Reality Show of 2021, Ellen Degeneres made sure to make good use of those iconic shades.
And let's not forget the Marvin Gaye medley performance. Who performed it?
[video_embed id='2332819']BEFORE YOU GO: Sandra Bullock said she begged Viola Davis to be in 'The Unforgivable' [/video_embed]