2016 Billboard Music Awards: Madonna Pays Tribute to Prince (VIDEO)
The 57-year-old singer led off with a heartbreaking cover of "Nothing Compares to You" before being joined by Stevie Wonder, 66, for an epic rendition of "Purple Rain."
Despite the applause, however, not everyone was thrilled Madge was the one selected for tonight’s tribute to the “Purple Rain” singer, who died on April 21 at the age of 57.
In fact, thousands of people signed a Change.org petition asking Billboard to choose a different performer — one who was closer to Prince or one who, like Prince, is black.
Fans have also contended Prince wanted black women to be the ones to perform his music, and his 2010 BET Awards tribute — with Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, and Janelle Monae — certainly helps validate that contention. (He also demanded his interviewer for an InStyle interview be a black woman.)
“Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honored and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show and to pay tribute to someone that was her friend and her peer and her colleague,” producer Mark Bracco told the Associated Press in a May 18 interview.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” he continued. “It’s going to be very, very intimate and very respectful, and I think it’s something that is really going to pay tribute to Prince as the incredible, groundbreaking artist that he was and the influence that he had on music.”
Check out a clip from Madonna's performance below:
Mark also explained how Madonna’s tribute came together; apparently, it was her idea.
“Honestly, her team gave a call and inquired about what we might be thinking about and it led to many conversations about what would she want to do and how would we want to shape it creatively,” he said.
“And after everyone (got) comfortable with exactly what the direction was, we all collectively wanted to go into Madonna, that she would do this, and she has been very, very involved in how this will all unfold creatively.”
Watch the video above to see Madge’s tribute to Prince, and stay tuned to Wetpaint all night for more on the BBMAs!