Tales from the blue carpet

The 2006 MTV Movie Awards will air on Thursday, June 8th, but they were taped last Saturday, on what felt like the hottest day of the year.

The press covering the awards were loaded onto the blue carpet a good half-hour before the first celebrity arrival was announced. That gave Andrew Daly, freckled correspondent for "The Showbiz Show with David Spade" (and the only guy at the entire event wearing a tuxedo), plenty of time to practice his intro. "As you can see David, the carpet isn't red, it's blue, I guess that's more rad," he said over and over again into the camera.

In the meantime, Emma Griffiths of MTV UK, smooth, cool and not terribly friendly, pasted a handwritten list of "possible red carpet Qs" to the guardrail separating the press from the stars and their publicists.

"Emma is the best," said an MTV International publicist.

"That's why I'm first," she replied, looking down the row past correspondents for MTV Japan, MTV Nordic, and MTV Canada.

Further on, Kellie Pickler, the teeny tiny blond "American Idol" contestant, clutched a microphone labeled "The Tonight Show." "We love you Kellie Pickler!" screamed a small group of fans from the mostly female, mostly cute, and mostly young crowd across the way. The singer squealed and waved.

At last the celebrities began to arrive. First came Pete Wentz, the bassist of Fallout Boy, followed by the bleach-blond Amazon, Brooke Hogan -- "Hulk Hogan's daughter," as her publicist constantly reminded the press, who seemed to need reminding.

Hogan looked great in a fitted leopard-print gown, but the dress code was specifically inconsistent. The girls from "The Hills" (a spinoff of "Laguna Beach"), who nobody wanted to talk to, were dressed for prom, while comedian Andy Milonakis, who everybody wanted to talk to, was dressed like a 12-year-old in jeans and a camouflage shirt.

Andy Samberg, the "Saturday Night Live" comedian du jour, said this was his first official blue carpet event, but not his first time at the MTV Movie Awards -- he wrote for the show in 2004 and 2005. "I've been famous for like five minutes," he said. "But I'm excited to have jumped to the other side."

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly were dressed as NASCAR drivers and doing interviews in character to promote their new movie "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

"Dave [Spade] owes me $90," Ferrell told Andrew Daly. Then he made out with Griffiths.

"Whooee," said Reilly. "That was better than a cup of tea."

"I didn't think he was actually going to do it," Griffiths said later. "I kept my mouth closed but he put his mouth over it so it was just kind of wet."

"Eww," groaned an MTV publicist.

"Well it looked great on camera," said Griffiths' producer.

Justin Timberlake arrived to the loudest screams of the evening. Pickler (who is only 19) couldn't contain herself and began bouncing up and down when she saw the singer.

"Kellie, you're jumping," said Timberlake, beginning to jump as well.

"I love your voice!" she squeaked in a thick Southern accent.

"I love yours too," he said.

Brett Ratner, short and squat, but flush with the success of his movie "X-Men: The Last Stand" arrived with arguably the best-looking woman of the evening. "I'm here to support Jessica Alba," he said of the actress who was hosting the event. Then a button popped off his jacket and fell into the press area.

When Jessica Simpson arrived, the crowd began to chant her name as Daly tried in vain to get the star's attention. Instead she did a quick interview with MTV's SuChin Pak who was wearing a short magenta dress designed by the "Project Runway" antihero Santino Rice. "Look at the two of us," said Simpson, who was also wearing a short dress. "Saucy."

One of the last people to come down the carpet was Brandon Routh, the star of "Superman Returns."

"Hey look, it's Superman!" said Pickler.

"Not too many questions," said his publicist.

Superman was running late.

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