People’s Choice Awards Spiced Up By Katy Perry, ‘Twilight,’ Johnny Depp

Elton John, Natalie Portman, Taylor Swift bring star power to Queen Latifah-hosted event.

People choosing things is always a good reason to throw a huge party, right? At least that’s what the folks behind the 2011 People’s Choice Awards thought, so they tricked out this year’s trophy handout with a super starry lineup of celebs and a few fun performances.

Host Queen Latifah kicked off the festivities with a huge musical number, barreling down the aisles of Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater in a black suit, big jewels and casual kicks, flanked by scores of dancers thrusting their fists in the air to Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.” The Queen even got the audience to join in the fun, as the sea of celebs waved their hands in the air as the hip-hop legend-turned-Hollywood player rhymed over the peppy track.

The performance set the tone for a night big on lighthearted appearances from entertainment A-listers. Jennifer Aniston handed out Favorite Comedic Star to funnyman Adam Sandler, who was also joined by David Spade and Rob Schneider to accept Favorite Comedy Movie for “Grown Ups.”

“Black Swan” starlet Mila Kunis made her first awards-show appearance since her breakup with longtime beau Macaulay Culkin, chatting about having someone to always wake up to and keep her smiling before giving out the award for Favorite Talk Show Host to Conan O’Brien. “When you’re up for an award and you’re up against Oprah, you don’t want to win. It makes Oprah very unhappy,” the ginger-haired comic quipped about besting the TV titan before thanking fans for making 2010 “one of the best years of his life,” despite his late-night drama with NBC.

One of the big star-power moments of the evening went down when pop legend Elton John strolled out to a standing ovation to present the award for Favorite Country Artist. Country princess Taylor Swift appeared genuinely awestruck when Sir Elton handed over the trophy, but remembered to congratulate the music luminary on becoming a new dad. “This award coming from you is such a showing of love,” Swift told her fans of the accolade. The newly single singer also thanked her adoring public for being people she “can count on.”

Selena Gomez & the Scene hit the stage to perform their track “A Year Without Rain.” Gomez helmed the ballad in a flowing printed gown with a voluminous train and dangly hoop earrings as fog crept along the stage. The group wrapped up the performance with a special surprise when they were presented with the award for Favorite Breakout Artist.

Latifah showed off her sassy wit throughout the night, often copping to going off script, like when the audio from her mic got spotty and she jokingly blasted producers by proclaiming, “I’m the host! You can’t cut me off!” Awards-show host extraordinaire Neil Patrick Harris — who later shouted out his new twins in baby-talk when he nabbed Favorite TV Comedy Actor — gave her an A+ for handling the technical glitch when she checked in with him about her hosting skills. “Glee” star Jane Lynch made a plea to keep music education in schools when she took home the trophy for Favorite TV Comedy Actress and a buzz-cut-sporting Zac Efron won Favorite Movie Star Under 25.

Screen veteran Johnny Depp also made a rare awards-show appearance when he showed up to receive the award for Favorite Movie Actor. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star received a standing ovation when he took the stage, greeting presenter Taylor Swift (his daughter is a fan) and thanking the fans for the “stupefying honor.”

Curvy reality sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé kept the dysfunctional family banter flowing when their hit “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” won Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure. The show also doled out snaps to popular Web distractions, and the Whittaker family took home Favorite Viral Video for the heartbreaking-yet-hilarious “Single Ladies” Devastation, which features the brood’s youngest son dissolving into tears when his dad tells him he’s not a “single lady” while his sisters rock out to the Beyoncé smash.

Although the show went down on Hump Day, Kid Rock hit the stage with his ode to weekend debauchery, “God Bless Saturday.” The Detroit native outfitted the performance with all the trappings of cowboy-rocker superstardom, sporting a leather vest, tinted glasses and a cowboy hat and belting out the lyrics as hefty plumes of fire blasted from the stage.

Sporting a strapless, lavender tulle cocktail dress, Katy Perry plugged her summer 2011 tour when she loaded up on crystal trophies for Favorite Female Artist and Favorite Online Sensation.

However, the entertainment sensation the record 175 million People’s Choice voters were feeling the most was easily the “Twilight” phenomenon , a fact Latifah played up when she peppered Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson with inane questions like whether a vampire could chomp his way out of getting devoured by a wolf and if Bella were turning to zombies after romantic romps with werewolves and vamps. “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” flick and cast scored four wins, with Stewart besting leading ladies like Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts for Favorite Movie Actress. The film also nabbed awards like Favorite Movie, which was presented by a newly pregnant Natalie Portman and her “No Strings Attached” co-star Ashton Kutcher.

What did you think of the 2011 People’s Choice Awards? Let us know in the comments!