NEW YORK • Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, pop star Taylor Swift and K-pop act BTS won prizes on Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards, which were held in the aftermath of yet another school shooting - this one at Santa Fe High School in Texas, which killed 10 people.
Hosting the show, singer Kelly Clarkson generated the most buzz of the night when she made an impromptu speech about the shooting.
She said she was supposed to lead a moment of silence, but had something else in mind. "I'm so sick of moments of silence," she said, fighting through tears. "It's not working, like, obviously."
She continued: "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."
"Mommas and daddies should be able to send their kids to school," she said. "To church. To movie theatres. To clubs. You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear. So we need to do better."
She did not mention exactly what action she meant, nor did she specify that she was in favour of limiting access to guns. But it was a notable statement from Clarkson, a Texas native and gun owner herself who has spoken publicly about it.
She told National Public Radio in 2012 that she lived alone, owned nine guns and slept with a Colt .45.
In a Twitter exchange with comedienne Amy Schumer in 2015, Clarkson said: "As a gun owner, I feel like people should have to take a gun course and have background checks before they can buy one."
On Sunday, Sheeran and rapper Kendrick Lamar took home six Billboard Music Awards each. Sheeran won prizes including Top Artist, Top Male Artist and Top Radio Song for Shape Of You. Lamar took awards including Top Streaming Songs Artist and Top Streaming Song (Audio) for Humble.
Swift, making her first appearance at an awards show in two years, won Top Female Artist and Top Selling Album for Reputation.
BTS took Top Social Artist for the second consecutive year and performed the world premiere of their new single, Fake Love.
The show also included performances by Janet Jackson (who was given the Icon Award), Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Ariana Grande, Sheeran (who was beamed in via satellite from Dublin) and Clarkson (who performed a medley of recent songs including Swift's Look What You Made Me Do).
Billboard did not seem to have an issue with Clarkson going off script as it posted a video of her monologue on social media.
The show returned to the subject of school shootings when singers Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined on stage by a choir from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people in February.
NYTIMES, KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK