MTV Movie Awards 2014: Zac Efron leaves his shirt off, plus 6 more On the Scene observations

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Image Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Being in the MTV Movie Awards audience is a powerful thing. When the crowd yelled “Take it off!” as Zac Efron accepted Best Shirtless Performance, for instance, Rita Ora actually heard that call to arms and did the people’s bidding. She didn’t want an angry mob on her hands, after all.

But Zac Efron’s abs weren’t the only perk of sitting in the Nokia Theatre crowd Sunday night. Check out all our observations from inside the arena below:

The performances are probably best viewed from your couch. With the big screens turned off during all musical performances, it was sometimes hard to make out what was going on. (Is Eminem’s hair platinum-blond again? Is Rihanna wearing any pants?) Still, the “Monster” duo managed to do what no other Movie Awards act did Sunday night: They got the whole crowd on their feet. Sure, there’s always the mosh pit of wild fans up front, but outside of that inner circle, it’s a surprisingly stodgy industry crowd that doesn’t want to risk looking like overenthusiastic Taylor Swifts.

Twenty One Pilots expected a lot from the crowd. When frontman Tyler Joseph hit the stage during a commercial break, he laid out an elaborate routine to the mosh pit that included masks, choreographed hand movements, and two musical cues. As you can see from Sandra Gonzalez’s Instagram video below, this was a lot to ask at an awards show with an open-booze policy.

Don’t feel sorry for Nick Lachey. As the 98 Degrees frontman was led down the aisle to his seat, we started to feel a little bad for his spot way in the back of the theater. Doesn’t “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” buy him a little more respect in this town? But once host Conan O’Brien pointed out Lachey’s subpar seats in his monologue, we realized it was all for a bit, and he was promptly led back to his rightful spot in the front. Boy-band disrespect averted.

Who won the celebrity popularity contest? In the pre-taped opening, O’Brien promised 50 stars — but not all cameos are created equal. According to our (entirely unscientific) applause-o-meter, the celebs who got the biggest response were Ashton Kutcher, James Franco, Lupita Nyong’o, Katy Perry, and … the cast of The Big Bang Theory. If the first and last people on this list are any indication, the kids really love CBS sitcoms.

Cool it with the effects. We couldn’t see Aaron Taylor-Johnson behind all that Godzilla smoke either.

What silenced the screamers? The crowd at the MTV Movie Awards is generally pretty rowdy, but there were a few moments where things quieted down to a church silence: Post-Paul Walker tribute, and during and after Jared Leto’s hyper-sincere AIDS speech.

That’s commitment. Zac Efron didn’t rush to feverishly button up his shirt after snagging the award for Best Shirtless Performance. The Neighbors star sauntered offstage sans shirt. What a pro!

–With reporting by Katie Atkinson and Lindsey Bahr

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