While some people might find the idea of being rained on with neon green slime repulsive, I enthusiastically agreed to test the famous liquid during a rehearsal for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards this week. The third annual show will air this Sunday, July 17, at 8 p.m. ET.
Nickelodeon awards shows are known for having that iconic neon green slime raining down on surprised celebrities. The Kids’ Choice Awards always had a sports category, and out of that a dedicated awards show to sports was created three years ago.
The network’s use of slime goes back to a show called “You Can’t Do That on Television,” which aired in re-runs on Nickelodeon in the 1990s. Every time an actor would say the key phrase “I don’t know,” the famous green slime would pour down on them.
Jay Schmalholz, Nickelodeon’s senior vice president of live events, explained to me that slime embodies what it is like to be a kid: fun, messy, and surprising. “When you think like a kid…a kid walks up to a puddle, and immediately wants to jump in it,” says Schmalholz. “That’s how a kid thinks. An adult looks at the puddle and wants to walk around it. That’s what slime is. Slime is an opportunity to get messy, and it’s a celebration.” Despite what anyone might think, slime is an honor. Says Schmalholz, “It’s never a penalty.”
Approximately 3,000 gallons of slime is prepared for the show. Although slime has been used for years, what is used to make the slime is a secret, according to Schmalholz — a “special recipe.” The athletes who are slimed may or may not know they are going to be slimed. Even if athletes are expecting to be slimed, they are not told when and how it will happen, and that all adds to the excitement.
After interviewing Schmalholz, I had the chance to see what being rained on with slime was actually like. I stood with two other testers under a giant basketball hoop. The slime would come from holes on the underside of the rim.
The workers gave us a countdown so we could brace ourselves. The slime was cold, slippery, thick, and gooey. The tarp that covered the stage turned into a pool of slime, making it hard to walk off the stage. Everyone was walking gingerly and trying not to fall, while workers were handing out towels. The green liquid covered every inch of my body. Just when I thought that I was done wiping down, there would always be another spot on my neck or my shoulder.
Slime is just one part of the awards. Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, will be returning as host of the awards show for the second year in a row. Schmalholz explains that Wilson is the ideal host. “He’s a big kid,” says Schmalholz. “He’s an amazing athlete. He’s really genuine. He loves doing things for kids, and he just has such a good time doing it, and he’s a quarterback, so he knows how to run the game. It’s a big show, and he knows how to run the game and call the plays.”
Wilson won’t be the only big name to hit the stage. There will be fun and creative competitions between world-class athletes. For example, Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the best three-point shooters in the NBA, will be competing head to head in a three-point shootout with an oversized basketball hoop and ball.
The Kids’ Choice Sports Awards will be filled with fun events, celebrity athletes, and of course, lots of slime. Be sure to tune in on Sunday to watch the celebration of sports unfold.
Photographs by Nickelodeon/Charley Gallay