Billy Eichner is known for his brash sense of humor, but last night at the 2018 American Music Awards, the comedian went rogue to tackle a very serious topic and to urge young people to register to vote.

“Young people of America, the biggest election of our lifetime is happening. That’s right. Tonight is the final night to register in 20 states in this country,” Eichner said before announcing Shawn Mendes as the winner of the AMA for Adult Contemporary Artist.

“Please grab your friends. Tell them to vote. If you believe in equality for women, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community, if you believe that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it, don’t let anyone tell you your vote won’t count.”

As the crowd applauded, he went on to reference Taylor Swift, who broke a long-standing political silence earlier in the week to also urge her fans to vote, as well as to endorse Democratic candidates in Tennessee. “Register and vote. You can go to Vote.gov, just like Taylor Swift told you,” he said.

Later, the Billy on the Street star confirmed via Twitter that he had indeed gone fully off-script to deliver his impassioned plea. “Yes that was a full on hijacking done with the support of the great Kathryn Hahn,” the comedian wrote. “Had to do it.”

Hahn, Eichner’s co-presenter, backed him up during his speech with applause and verbal affirmations. AMAs host Tracee Ellis Ross also supported his unscripted announcement, thanking him during the live show for using his platform the way he does.

What did you think of Billy Eichner’s voting speech at the AMAs? Let us know @BritandCo.

(photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)