The Rock Sweeps, Ellen’s Final Win & More 2021 People’s Choice Awards Highlights (VIDEO)

'2021 People's Choice Awards,' NBC & E!, Christina Aguilera, Dwayne
Rich Polk/E! Entertainment/NBC; Alberto Rodriquez/E! Entertainment/NBC; Christopher Polk/E! Entertainment/NBC

Celebrating this year’s best in entertainment, the 2021 People’s Choice Awards returned with an in-person audience to present awards voted on by the fans, for the fans. Hosted by SNL funnyman Kenan Thompson, this year’s ceremony was jam-packed with memorable moments, from major wins to amazing performances, to honoring legendary celebs for their career achievements.

Honored in this year’s prestigious nominees were reality TV and pop culture icon Kim Kardashian West with the Fashion Icon Award, Christina Aguilera with the Music Icon Award, legendary actress Halle Berry with the People’s Icon Award, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with the night’s top honor, the 2021 People’s Champion Award.

Check out some of the night’s best laughs, speeches, and performances below!

Kenan’s Musical Roast Monologue

“Y’all ready for a show tonight?” Host Kenan Thompson started the show with a musical roast monologue, poking fun at several of the night’s top nominees. Comparing the show to The Oscars but with movies people have actually seen, no one was safe from his hilarious comments. Perhaps his funniest dig was at Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson, whom he joked would become a “White Widow” if her husband Colin Jost wouldn’t stop using his SNL bathroom.

The Rock Dominated the Night

Winning the night’s first award for Male Movie Star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took home several awards throughout the night, including Comedy Movie Star, and most notably, the 2021 People’s Champion Award. Honored for using his fame to help and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds, he recalled his history with the first “people’s champion,” Muhammad Ali. Having known him over the years, Ali permitted Johnson to use the title during his early wrestling days before working together with the Make-A-Wish Foundation later on. “What it means to be the people’s champion is so much bigger than me,” he added, before inviting his Make-A-Wish guest up on stage, giving the award to her for inspiring him and the world. As the ceremony wrapped up, he ended his time with one of his favorite quotes, telling fans, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

The People Love Loki

The PCAs bowed down to Loki, as the Marvel Disney+ hit series took home the title of Show of 2021, along with Male TV Star for its leading man, Tom Hiddleston. “Wow, I didn’t expect that,” he said before thanking the show’s cast and crew, stating he will share the award with them. He ended his heartfelt speech by thanking the fans for making his years-long portrayal of the god of mischief the role of a lifetime. “It is a joy and an honor, and it continues to be.”

Simu Liu & Shang Chi‘s First PCAs Wins

The star of this summer’s biggest blockbuster movie, Simu Liu took home his first-ever People’s Choice Award for Action Movie Star for his role as the titular Shang-Chi in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Thanking the fans for voting, he went on to state that though he is the face of the film, all the credit belongs to everyone who worked on it, including director Destin Daniel Cretton. Recalling his time as a finance student, he encouraged fans to chase their dreams and not wait for permission to do what they want. Later on in the night, the film took home the award for Action Movie of the year, to Liu’s surprise and highly improvised acceptance speech.

Ellen DeGeneres’s Historic 25th PCAs Win

In a bittersweet win, Ellen DeGeneres took home the award for Daytime Talk Show Host of the year for the final season of her legendary talk show. “The show has been the greatest experience of my life. I have enjoyed every bit of it,” she stated. She recalled the joy of making viewers smile and shining a light on deserving people throughout the show’s 19-year run. Ending her speech on a positive note, she encouraged fans to not let popularity be their goal in life, but rather to be “exactly who you are.”

Kim Kardashian West’s Fashion Icon Award

Honored with this year’s Fashion Icon Award, last year’s winner Tracee Ellis Ross presented the award to Kim Kardashian West, who strutted down the runway stage in an all-black outfit reminiscent of her 2021 Met Gala look. Humbled, she thanked all of the designers who believed in her and worked with her over the years, calling the award a “pinch me” moment. She even thanked her ex-husband Kanye West for introducing her to the world of fashion in a new way. “This is like a dream that I get to wake up and wear these amazing clothes and just try new things,” she stated before thanking the fans once more.

Black Widow Kicks Butt

Continuing the streak of Marvel wins, Black Widow and its star Scarlett Johansson took home major awards for Movie of 2021 and Female Action Star. Like Tom Hiddleston, she thanked the fans for accepting and enjoying her portrayal of the red-headed heroine for the past decade. “This is very exciting because it’s the People’s Choice Award, and that’s who we make movies for,” she stated. Thanking the women who helped make her final appearance as the titular character a memorable one, she stated, “I will really treasure this. It means so much to me.”

Christina Aguilera Cements Her Music Icon Status

“Christina Aguilera is a music icon,” stated presenter Becky G, and an icon she proved herself to be with a powerful performance of her biggest hits, including “Genie In a Bottle,” “Ain’t No Other Man,” and the inspiring “Beautiful.” Accepting the first-ever Music Icon Award, she was amazed at the prospect of winning an award with the word “icon” in it. She stated that her goal has always been to inspire and empower listeners with her music, and has loved hearing how her songs have changed her fans’ lives, telling them, “You inspire me every day.” Thanking her family, friends, and the women who helped her succeed in the music industry, she ended her speech by thanking her “true icons,” her kids Max and Summer. 

Halle Berry Is the People’s Icon

Having been a Hollywood superstar for decades, the people chose to award Halle Berry with the 2021 People’s Icon Award for her impact on the entertainment industry. From her “super” roles as Storm in the X-Men franchise and Catwoman, to her historic Oscar win as the first African American to take home Best Actress in a Leading Role, to her latest film Bruised, “She is not afraid to push the range. She is not afraid to go there,” stated presenter Cardi B. Dawning a Catwoman-like jumpsuit, her acceptance speech was full of more “thank yous” than words, as she made sure to thank everyone who has helped her along the way. Most importantly, she thanked the fans for keeping her going throughout her 30+ year-long career. Cardi B even got the audience to cheer her name as the show cut to commercial.

H.E.R. Pays Tribute to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

Celebrating the album’s golden anniversary, Grammy Award-winning artist H.E.R. paid tribute to music legend Marvin Gaye and his iconic album “What’s Going On” by performing beautiful renditions of the titular song and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler).” 

Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ Final PCA Win

Kim Kardashian West returned to the PCAs stage alongside her sister Khloe Kardashian and mother Kris Jenner to accept the Reality Show of 2021 Award for the final season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Looking back on the show’s 14-year run, Kim stated, “We could not have imagined that it would have lasted this long.” With the KUWTK chapter coming to a close, Kris stated that “a new one is coming” next year on Hulu, telling fans to stay tuned for what’s to come.

“Country Boy” Blake Shelton Rocks the PCAs

In the second musical performance of the night, Blake Shelton brought his country style to the PCAs‘ stage with his performance of “Come Back As A Country Boy,” followed by his win for Country Artist of the year. After his fan “thank yous,” the singer got sentimental by stating how much the award means to him. “I swear, the longer I go on the more I realize that all these award shows, the fan-voted awards are the ones that mean the most to me,” he stated.