Ao-chan says she saw people getting this award before and never thought she would win it herself. She was very modest, saying that she had a long way to go in a lot of areas, and that when she heard she had won, she thought she "wasn't qualified": "Am I really good enough for this?"
Some 2channel commenters thought she was excessively modest, to the point of being impolite.
The show itself was scaled back considerably from previous years. It was billed as an "awards party," rather than an "awards show." Most of the recipients were not present and representatives of their agency accepted their awards for them. It made it obvious that these awards are more for the industry than for the public.
In other awards, it was moving to see Kawakami Tomoko's mother receive the award given posthumously to her daughter, all the while holding a memorial photo of her.
So far, one photo of Ao-chan at the awards has shown up, on the blog of the fairly peculiar-looking Matsuoka Yoshitsugu (right, Riku in Hourou Musuko, Narumi in Kamisama no Memochou), who won one of the New Seiyuu awards:
On the left is Mikami Shiori, who won a New Seiyuu award for Akari in YuruYuri.
Commenters on 2channel repeat how cute Ao-chan was, one saying she looked like a doll, another saying she was so small she seemed to be on a different scale from other people. There are other comments dismissing the Seiyuu Awards or giving the writer's opinion that she isn't a good enough seiyuu, and her voice will become boring to people quite soon.
I don't think these people are exactly mistaken in what they hear. I just think that they have too limited a view of what makes a good seiyuu.
The Seiyuu Awards specifically say they are looking for the performances in the year that "left an impression." That is what Ao-chan can do, with her tremendous verbal skill and comic talent, and with her ability to convey moments of strong emotion. She is not the kind of seiyuu who is smooth and inconspicuous, and gives a character just the voice one expects it to have. I'm not a huge fan of all her roles -- Madoka in MadoMagi is too much for me, lol -- but I agree with a lot of seiyuus, who seem to be bowled over by her verbal ability.
Ao-chan, a self-confessed otaku and Net junkie, will certainly see the negative comments, and probably even agrees with some of them. I think she will work hard to improve in all ways. Maybe someday she will even be smooth enough to do dubbing work.
Her most recent enterprise is being the reader for a teens' history of the world. The book comes with a CD. Go to this page, click the forward arrow to a page with text, then click on the little disk icon on the page for a sample of her reading. The four historical events covered in the samples are the founding of Rome, the Greco-Persian Wars, the crowning of Charlemagne, the An Lushan rebellion in China, the Augsburg conference that allowed Protestants to practice their religion in Germany, and the accession of Akbar to the Mughal throne in India.