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April 6, 1998

'Kids' Choice Awards'

Marilyn Moss
The Hollywood Reporter

It was the kid-size version of the People's Choice Awards, but don't ever call it pint-size.

It was large and loud and full of razzle-dazzle, it had legit categories and awards to give out, and it was televised live in all its glory from UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.

Nickelodeon's "11th Annual Kids' Choice Awards" was a terrifically energetic and show-stopping celebration of pop culture for the still-popping _ and a great time was had by all.

Part of the fun was the pumped-up energy level of host, co-producer and kid connoisseur Rosie O'Donnell, who had the joint jumpin' and the kids in the audience screaming.

The adage of the evening was "Kids Rule," of course, and Rosie belted out the words every now and then, getting the kids and most of the presenters and grown-up (well, sort of grown-up) celebs to follow suit. The fireworks never let up.

Some of the taller folk who showed up to present awards _ and to accept a few of them _ were Alicia Silverstone, Drew Barrymore, Tom Arnold and Melissa Joan Hart. Madonna came to present awards and hung around for a good portion of the show to get the kids rooting and tooting. She looked quite at ease with the proceedings, and the kids loved her.

Appearances by groups Aerosmith, Britain's singing sensation Cleopatra, and award winners Hanson and Puff Daddy didn't hurt the action any.

The production was noisy and colorful _ with a set full of kidtraptions and lighting designs that darted in all directions. Director Glenn Weiss kept the pace brisk for a good 90 minutes plus.

And though writers Scott Fellows and Lazar Saric gave the presenters a few clunkers to mouth, for the most part the words were crisp and 'rapped. With its audience growing toward the gargantuan each year, the "Kids' Choice Awards" let no one down this time around.

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