By allowing the fans to choose the winners, the People's Choice Awards trumps the Golden Globes and Academy Awards in one important way: Unpredictability.
The combination of scattershot categories and fan whimsy make an attempt to divine a single storyline an exercise in futility, as the 2012 People's Choice Awards did, for the most part, steer clear of the obvious favorites. And this is to be expect from a show where two major categories - "Favorite TV Drama" and "Favorite TV Comedy" - were still being voted on during the live telecast.
The closest the show had to an omnipresent entity was Betty White, who sat in the front row and was referenced by adoring celebrity fans throughout the night. She capped it off by winning "Favorite Cable TV Comedy" alongside her "Hot in Cleveland" co-stars and accepted a standing ovation when Jane Leeves wished the former "Golden Girl" a happy 90th birthday during the acceptance speech.
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"I didn't do anything," joked White. "90 just happens to you."
While not every element went off without a hitch (Emma Stone awkwardly being handed her "Favorite Comedic Actress" award while onstage accepting the "Favorite Movie Actress" award; a clunky skit with "Glee" star Jane Lynch as a "professional seat planner" where host Kaley Cuoco mistakenly delivered her punchline in the intro to the skit rather than at its conclusion), surprise winners included "Hugo" star Chloe Moretz, who won the Favorite Movie Stars Under 25 award despite the rest of the category consisting of "Harry Potter" actors, "The Vampire Diaries" star Nina Dobrev, who revealed during her "Favorite TV Drama Actress" acceptance speech that she was a write-in candidate who wasn't on the original ballot, and "Water For Elephants," which snagged the "Favorite Drama Movie" award - clearly benefitting from "Twilight" fans eager to vote for Robert Pattinson for anything.
The People's Choice awards is built around social networking, and even though the winners ranged from the baffled ("Favorite Daytime Talk Show Host" winner Ellen DeGeneres admitted she was confused by the whole voting process) to the savvy ("Favorite TV Comedy Actor" winner Neil Patrick Harris professed his love for Twitter), the impact was obvious.
Seconds after Stone won her double-awards, model and actress Jenny McCarthy Tweeted "Emma Stone just won a People's Choice Award. I know someone that must be very excited about that," referencing her ex, Jim Carrey, who infamously posted a bizarre video tribute to the young "Crazy Stupid Love" star.
Other notable winners included "Bridesmaids" ("Favorite Comedy Movie"), 'How I Met Your Mother" ("Favorite Network TV Comedy"), "The Voice" coach Adam Levine and is band Maroon 5 besting the likes of Coldplay and Foo Fighters for "Favorite Band," Adam Sandler somewhat inexplicably taking home "Favorite Comedic Actor" despite his 2011 offerings - "Just Go With It" and "Jack and Jill" - not performing up to his usual box office standards, and Morgan Freeman winning the inaugural "Favorite Movie Icon" award.
A complete list of the over 40 winners can be found on the official People's Choice Awards web site.