It was a night fit for music royalty as the Queen of Pop herself was joined by the King of R&B and Funk to pay tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday. Madonna and Stevie Wonder joined forces to honor the late icon, who passd away unexpectedly at his Paisley Park compound last month.
Donning a Prince-esque suit and gracing the stage in purple throne, Madonna kicked off the tribute — actually, Prince did, in his own words from the "Let's Go Crazy" intro — by singing the Prince-penned break-up ballad, "Nothing Comapres 2 You," originally performed by Sinead O'Connor. Following her emotional performance, Madonna was joined by Stevie to sing one of the late singer's most famous tracks, "Purple Rain."
Madonna on stage paying tribute to Prince at the 2016 BBMAs.
Though in typical Madonna fashion, the performance was met with some controversy. Before the award show, more than 8,000 people signed a Change.org petition for additional artists to join the tribute, citing that Prince was "more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer." BET even shaded the performance on Sunday night by sharing a promo for their own upcoming Prince tribute by saying, "Yeah, we say that. Don't worry. We got you."
Regardless of where anyone stands on the issue, Questlove, who introduced Madonna, defended it.
“So I know there is gonna be A LOT of ‘feel a certain ways’ about who you want to see do his music justice – but you gotta put that aside y’all,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
After the tribute aired, Madonna seemed to brush off any criticism. "An Epic Moment for Me to sing in honor of Prince with Stevie Wonder," she shared on Twitter. "#luckiestgirlintheworld."
UPDATE: On Monday, Madonna released a statement about the attention her tribute received. On Instagram, she wrote, "Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever."