When the 2018 Billboard Music Awards opened on Sunday (May 20), viewers were expecting a moment of recognition for last week's tragic school shooting in Texas. Host Kelly Clarkson provided that--but not in the way expected.
The superstar veered from the traditional script, refusing to give the customary "moment of silence," and tearfully calling for action instead.
"Before we start tonight's show, there is something I'd like to say about the tragedy Friday at Santa Fe High School," Clarkson said, visibly struggling with emotion. "I'm a Texas girl, and my home state has had so much heartbreak over this past year. And once again, y'all, we're grieving for more kids that have died for just an absolute no reason at all."
She went on to explain that she had been instructed to call for a moment of silence, however: "I'm so sick of 'moment of silence,'" she asserted. "It's not working...Why don't we do a moment of action? Why don't we do a moment of change? Why don't we change what's happening? Because it's horrible."
Clarkson continued on over the roars of approval from the crowd. "Mamas and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs -- you should be able to live life without that kinda fear. We need to do better.
"I have four children and I can't imagine getting that phone call or the knock on the door. So instead of a moment of silence...in your community where you live, your friends, everybody, let's have a moment of action. Let's have a moment of change."
The show aired live on NBC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and was set to host a variety of A-list music stars including BTS, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Kesha and Salt-N-Pepa. Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran were tied for the most nominations, with 15 each.