Kelly Clarkson walking on the red carpet at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards held at The MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by L.E. Baskow/LeftEye Images/Sipa USA)

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Kelly Clarkson honors Texas high school shooting victims at Billboard Awards

May 20, 2018 - 9:49 pm
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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- An emotional Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards in tribute to the recent school children and teachers who died in Texas, barely able to speak as she urged the audience and the world to do more to prevent deadly shootings from happening.

Clarkson, who is hosting the show, said she was asked to hold a moment of silence for the 10 victims who died Friday, but chose instead to call for "a moment of action."

"Once again we're grieving for more kids that have died ... I'm so sick of moment of silences ... it's not working," she said Sunday, almost in tears. "Mommies and daddies should be able to send their kids to school."

The Texan and mother of four added, "I can't imagine getting that phone call or knock on the door."

Friday's attack at Santa Fe High School outside Houston left eight students and two teachers dead.

Ariana Grande followed Clarkson with an energetic performance of "No Tears Left to Cry," which earned a loud applause from the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

Clarkson, who has become a fan favorite as a judge on "The Voice," returned to tell jokes that won over the audience. She sang a medley of hit songs, including Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do," Imagine Dragons' "Thunder" and Kendrick Lamar's "Humble."

Though Taylor Swift, Grande and Clarkson are in attendance, the night belongs to Janet Jackson.

After celebrating her 52nd birthday and the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking "janet." album, Jackson will be capping off an epic week with her first televised performance in nine years at the show, where she will also receive the Icon Award.

Others set to take the stage include K-pop group BTS, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Khalid, Dua Lipa, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Macklemore, Kesha, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Zedd and Maren Morris.

Kendrick Lamar won six awards early Sunday, including top rap artist and top 200 Billboard album for "DAMN," which won him the Pulitzer Prize for music.

Lamar, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran tied for the most nominations with 15 each. They are up for the night's biggest award — top artist — along with Taylor Swift and Drake.

Nominees for top Hot 100 song are Lamar's "Humble," Mars' "That's What I Like," Post Malone's "Rockstar," Sheeran's "Shape of You" and "Despacito," by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber.

Presenters at the Billboard Awards include Tyra Banks, Alison Brie, The Chainsmokers, Andy Cohen, Simon Cowell, Halsey, Nick Jonas, Mila Kunis, Padma Lakshmi and Rebel Wilson.

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