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The 2018 Billboard Music Awards Were Surprisingly Emotional

Khalid, Shawn Mendes, Youth, Parkland, Billboard Music Awards

We don’t often think of award shows as events that pack in the emotion, but Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards had us reaching for the tissues more than once. From performers calling for gun control, to remembering musicians we lost this year, the Billboard Music Awards brought a levity and seriousness to the action-packed show that made it memorable and relevant.

Kelly Clarkson’s Incredible Induction

The evening started on a sombre note, with Kelly Clarkson proving why she was a great choice to host this year’s show. Opening the Billboard Music Awards with a message about the recent shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, Clarkson went off script and said she didn’t want to have a moment of silence for her home state, but a moment of action, urging all those watching to get involved in their community and work towards policy change that will make schools, concerts, movie theatres, and churches safe spaces once again. “Tonight they wanted me to say…obviously we want to pray for all the victims and pray for their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence,” said Clarkson. “And I’m so sick of moments of silence. It’s not working…obviously. So, why don’t we not do a moment of silence, 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. And mommies and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs… You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear.”

 

Ariana Grande’s Return

We’re not sure whether the producers of the Billboard Music Awards purposely scheduled Ariana Grande’s performance of “No Tears Left To Cry” right after Kelly Clarkson’s speech or just wanted the pop star as the opener for the show. Either way, Grande’s return to award shows following the tragic death of 22 people at her 2017 Manchester concert put even more stock into Clarkson’s speech.

 

Shawn Mendes And Khalid Perform ‘Youth’ With Parkland Students

The victims of the Santa Fe shooting were honoured again later in the show by a performance of Shawn Mendes and Khalid’s duet “Youth.” The pair were joined by the show choir from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with those students experiencing their own devastating shooting earlier this year. The choir’s entrance received an immediate standing ovation from the crowd and resulted in the most powerful moment of the evening.

 

Avicii Remembered

The Chainsmokers and Halsey partnered to speak about the recent death of Swedish DJ Avicii, with Halsey calling for more acceptance and love for those dealing with mental health issues. Later, when The Chainsmokers returned to the stage to accept Top Dance/Electronic Artist, they once again paid homage to the late Avicii, crediting the musician for helping pave the way for so many other artists, including The Chainsmokers.

 

Luis Fonsi Sends Love To Dreamers

While accepting the award for Top 100 Song for “Despacito,” Luis Fonsi thanked fans for embracing a mostly Spanish song and dedicated the award to all the DREAMers. “This goes out to all my Latino brothers, all the immigrants. All the DREAMers out there, all of those who get made fun of when you speak with an accent, all of those when they say, ‘Hey speak English.’ To you—Puerto Rico, this goes out to you.”