The 2012 People's Choice Awards: What to Expect

The most democratic awards show of the season arrives tonight.

For those people who are put off by the faceless, behind-the-scenes cadres that decide the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, there's the People's Choice Awards. Since 1975, it's given fans a chance to nominate and vote for their own personal favorites. It may not be a reliable barometer for predicting this Sunday's Globes, but where else are you going to see "Favorite Movie" rubbing shoulders with "Favorite Tour Headliner"?

The People's Choice awards will be handed out tonight, live, on CBS (the event is hosted by "The Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco), and it will once again be the only award show that combines movies, TV, and music - not to mention the only one that is unabashedly a "popularity contest."

With such a broad spectrum of categories and nominees, it's difficult for any one show, project, or performer to claim dominance, but the eclectic hodgepodge is part of the show's appeal. Where, say, the Globes feature names like George Clooney, Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, and Glenn Close, the People's Choice Awards pit Daniel Radcliffe, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, and Jennifer Aniston against one another.

And forget artier fare like "The Artist" or message dramas like "Ides of March," tonight the Favorite Movie category has the magical schoolkids of Hogwarts facing off against Autobots and Decepticons.

Other unusual categories include "Favorite Movie Icon" (Clooney, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, and Tom Hanks face off for that honor), "Favorite Daytime TV Host" (the "Today" show gang vs. Regis & Kelly, who ya got?), and "Favorite Band" (that's right, Morgan Freeman and Foo Fighters are the same award show).

Although we already know that "Favorite Pop Artist" nominee Katy Perry won't be unhand, expect to see a stunning and, again, unexpected mix of big names on the red carpet.

For a complete list of nominees and categories, check out the official People's Choice Awards site.

The People's Choice Awards air live, tonight, on CBS at 9 PM ET.

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