The shooting hit home for the Texas-born singer.
The singer, who took on hosting duties for the ceremony Sunday, said producers requested a moment a silence, but she had a better idea.
"I'm a Texas girl and my home state has so much heartbreak. Once again, we're grieving for kids that have died for absolutely no reason at all," Clarkson said while tearing up. "They wanted me to do a moment of silence 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 mommas and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, clubs -- you should be able to live their life without that kind of fear," she continued. "We need to do better. We're failing our children. We're failing their families. I have four children. I cannot imagine getting that phone call or knock on the door. So instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect them and honor them, tonight y'all, in your community where you live, let's have a moment of action, let's have a moment of change."
Although Clarkson kicked the show off on a somber, emotional note, Ariana Grande's quickly picked things up with a performance her new single, "No Tears Left to Cry."
The performance seemed to have cheered up Clarkson, who returned to the stage afterward for her musical take on the traditional opening monologue. "OK, I don’t want to cry anymore. But sometimes you have to talk about something, or no change is going to come," Clarkson said before cracking a few jokes and singing a medley of the biggest hits the past year had to offer.