Madonna Prince Tribute

Madonna Performs Tribute to Prince at 2016 Billboard Music Awards

Almost exactly one month after Prince’s untimely death, the music legend was honored at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards by longtime friend Madonna.

Following a heartfelt intro from Questlove, the Queen of Pop took center stage atop a purple throne for an emotional, string-supported rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” while a flock of doves took flight on the screen behind her:

Madonna was then joined by surprise special guest Stevie Wonder for a dramatic performance of “Purple Rain”:

Your thoughts on Madonna (and Wonder’s) tribute to Prince? Grade their performance below, then  drop a comment with your full review.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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119 Comments
  1. Robby says:

    It was the thought that counts, right? But Girl…no.

  2. Cathie says:

    Should have been more PRINCE!! What was that morbid crap at the beginning of Nothing Compares To You in the screen behind Madonna?? No….we needed more PRINCE. More funk and love and soul. It needed more. That was not enough of a celebration of or for PRINCE!!!

    • Mb says:

      Then go make one!!!!!!

    • karenb says:

      Cathie I completely agree! Too sad! Not enough celebrating! #RIPPrince

    • lutherell says:

      Well…that was a Prince song, so it was appropriate. That said the tribute was still horrible. As you said, there was no soul.

    • Carlene says:

      I agree, the morbid, cemetery pictures were disgusting, and a huge turn off. That should have been longer, with pictures of him, loving his music and rockin’ it. She sang that song well, but I wonder if she was in charge of what was on the screen? If she was, I don’t know what the heck she was thinking!

      • JM12 says:

        In fairness, I don’t think Madonna produced the visuals, etc. On the other hand, her singing, wardrobe choice, and lack of facial movement were all just UGH.

    • Nicole says:

      @Cathie Nothing compares to you is a Prince song.. He wrote it and composed it.

    • MJ says:

      I agree. Maybe bring out a full band. A drummer or something. I mean wow.

    • Dana says:

      Uh, Prince wrote the song

    • LADY_in_MD says:

      Maybe the family hasn’t given rights to all his songs yet so these were the only ones they could perform I keep reading that they are still trying to sort out his estate

    • donholley77 says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking! I have nothing to add. Thanks, for summing it up perfectly for me!

    • Tiffany says:

      I think Bruno Mars should have done the tribute…

    • Jake says:

      Could it be that Prince wrote the song “Nothing Compares 2 U” ? Some people need to push back from the keyboard.

      • Shirley says:

        Yes, of course he wrote Nothing Compares 2 U, but Madonna sand it awful!! Took the emotion and soul right out of it!

        He also wrote about 300 other songs… many many highly successful ones…

  3. Amber says:

    I was a little worried of how this would go, but she did a good job. It was smart to stick to his most powerful ballads.

  4. Ndav says:

    Where the he’ll was Patti , Christtina, And didn’t Steven Tyler just leave the stage.

  5. tyanna says:

    Nope. Let’s hope BET has a better line up with Miguel, Fantasia, DeAngelo, Lenny Kravitz and Janelle Monae

  6. What a shame…that was awful

  7. Brandkind says:

    So very very awful!!!!

    • Jj says:

      You can do better???
      Child.

    • Explorer1010 says:

      No it wasn’t awful u probably singing would be awful. Your comment means nothing if your going to make a statement like that back it up with facts and explains why it was awful. Here I give u an example talk about her vocal technique. Judgemental & Ignorant is all u are.

  8. Tired says:

    To those of you saying it was “awful,” then let’s see if you can do it better? You can’t? Thought so

    • Jean says:

      I could probably do better than that. That is why it is sad. Just playing video highlights would have been better.

      • miamac says:

        So agree. A lot of people, including myself, can carry a note. I too can buy a purple outfit and sing his songs. But, can I embody him? Nope. Neither could she and we knee this beforehand. That performance hurt her most of all.

    • dlraetz says:

      That’s a weak argument. We aren’t professional singers. Most people are listing performers they think could do a better tribute. I think Purple Rain is so iconic that a video highlight of Prince singing it with maybe some dancers on stage would have been the best way to go

  9. Lola says:

    That was pathetically pitiful. It was like Prince died yesterday and this was a rushed unexpected tribute. They had plenty of time to prepare and this is what they came up with? And to choose the less than talented Madonna to boot? She can barely sing her own songs. Her voice is average at best.

  10. Me says:

    Gaga would have blown it out. Does Madonna smoke? She could barely breathe

  11. SHIRLEY says:

    Total fail. Smh. Nothing compares 2 u : No passion, no energy, no perfection… no connection, droned on forever, monotonous, non-iconic pics of Prince, re Purple Rain: no verses, no crecendo, no guitar…

    jesus, was she sick? Did they not learn the lyrics?
    Pathetic . So many songs that he had, and this is all they ciuld do in a MONTH? :(

  12. Max says:

    Was hoping she could pull it off but that was just uninspired & pathetic … an artist of his level deserved a performance of a much higher caliber. Cringe-worthy performance at best. No longer a Madonna fan. People should know their limitations & she just didn’t do him justice. RIP Prince.

    • Fretyyyyyy says:

      Then bye.

      • miamac says:

        You cannot fight the entire internet or social media, chile. She was bad, face it. But nope, it doesn’t change the fact she is a legend. But someone should have saved her from herself. Even Michael Jordan had to retire.

  13. Debora Abrams-Wright says:

    That was awful and sooooo weak. All the hype (which I didn’t believe) and THIS was it. With so much musical talent available, I don’t know why she was chosen. Stevie was an after thought, and not even he could breathe life into that mess. If you’re gonna do Purple Rain, don’t do it half ass. Shame on you Madonna and Billboard. Who’s stupid idea was this anyway? Sorry, I see this as another Madonna move – for Madonna.

  14. B J Jones says:

    Worst ever!

  15. Mb says:

    The only fail was that stupid intro by whats hisname

  16. Mick says:

    BET Award’s media team was on it, “Yea we saw that don’t worry. We got you” lol.

  17. Jess says:

    Wish she ended the performance with,
    Baby I’m A star. An upbeat song that perfectly describes Prince.

  18. TV Addict says:

    That was absolutely terrible! He had so many hits and they song that he wrote instead of the numerous hits he actually made famous. Here’s hoping the Grammys and AMAs do a better tribute.

    • Jack kellis says:

      Madonna done him proud, no other artist has the right to be his peer other than Madonna, they both lines the 80’s with hits and changed music forever, all these fools hating on Madonna just need any excuse to slag her off, hate will devour you all.

      • Michelle says:

        How much did she pay you to defend her?

        • miamac says:

          Okayyy lol. Some people can’t face truth.

          • Jake says:

            Madonna actually did well. Half of you probably weren’t even around in the 80s so your comments are irrelevant. All of these artists are busy people and to take time out of an already demanding schedule to do a tribute is awesome. I am sorry Madonna is an icon, she might not be the best singer, but she has been around a hell of a lot less longer than Gaga and others. Madonna opened the doors for other singers like Gaga so climb down of your ever so sacred crosses because someone else needs the wood.

  19. DB says:

    I love Madonna, but this performance was lackluster. Seemed thrown together and unrehearsed. Prince is deserving of a blow-out, funky, sexy celebration, but this felt more like a funeral dirge.

  20. Jess says:

    Wish she would have ended the performance with Prince song, Baby I’m A Star. An excellent upbeat song that describes him.

  21. Charlie says:

    Purple Rain, is not his only hit!
    Only lasted 10 minutes.
    Would have liked more Prince songs.

  22. Kim says:

    That was pure disrespectful to Prince and his fans. Stevie Wonder tried to help the situation, but it couldn’t be under the circumstances. The Billboard Music Awards show should be shame for allowing this and suggesting that Madonna give the tribute.

  23. realtalk says:

    I knew she was going to suck

  24. BBBYpsi says:

    Just a few things for my opinion. Was glad she sang live with a band & back up singers. Prince believed in live performance & not backing track. They got that part right. Her vocal was not great but she kept everything tender & simple nothing over the top. Put several artists today they would have done all their stupid runs… With that said would have liked to have seen the aritst he helped make famous like the time,Sheliea E.( might have been hard for her) Some of his original band members…. Maybe that is coming up in the future.

  25. Charlie says:

    Purple Rain, is not his only hit!

  26. JANICE PORTER says:

    I thought Madonna’s tribute was beautiful and perfect. She kept it classy, She like Prince looked amazing, and I think she chose a great song to sing as her tribute to Prince. I thought it was classy to add Stevie Wonder to sing Purple Rain. Prince would be pleased!!!!

  27. Claire says:

    Ugh, Madonna, no.

    I feel like her performances used to be really incredible and groundbreaking and now she’s just there.

  28. Celia says:

    Madonna, Prince and MJ made the amazing Triumvirat. To sell more, magazines and newspapers “created” this animosity between Prince and MJ. Then Madonna and MJ. Just “media” stuff. The thing is: Once Prince was asked if he would go touring with Madonna and he said yes but people are not ready for us. It would be too much.
    Prince was right… as they never toured together (he made a song for her and sang on this song in her album), yes, I think Prince is very much pleased to see/hear Madonna paying a Tribute to him. Everyone knows that Madonna isn’t a good singer, she says it herself. She says that she’s an entertainer. This song Nothing Compares to U isn’t easy for her to sing but I can feel her effort to do it right. I’m very but very very happy that it was her, the Queen of Pop who was there to make this humble but touching tribute.
    Of course haters will disagree but I’m a Prince’s fan and I don’t hate, I wish love to everyone. Peace!

  29. Ricky23 says:

    Very disappointing. Even Sinead O’Connor on her worst day would have put more emotion into Nothing Compares…. Didn’t really do anything to capture who Prince the musician was. When is BET doing their tribute?

  30. tamekamullins says:

    I love Madonna for what she does best. She should not have stepped on the stage to SING any Prince songs. It was terrible and a slap in the face to his brilliance as a singer and musician. Friends don’t do that to friends. I am hurt and disappointed! It would have been better if she shared some memories and let his videos play in the background. I would have respected that. Stevie is an icon and he shouldn’t have been carted out there to save her. They used him. Just thumbs down all the way around.

  31. Kiesha says:

    I predicted epic fail and it was an epic fail #Sheila E., Alicia Keys, The Time just to name a few

  32. Petsche says:

    Madonna nailed it! Very classy! I am a huge Prince fan and I appreciated her tribute. Not over the top. Damn, frickin Stevie Wonder showed up!! Step back haters!!

  33. Dre says:

    Did not like this so-called tribute to Prince. It was like the muzak, watered down version on the Purple One’s music. Where was the finky, bad-ass edge? Where was the musical bravado?
    Shelia E. and the Revolution should have donethe triibute!

  34. Sheri says:

    I was so sad by the choice. Her vocal range can not compare to artists like Chaka Kahn, Patti Labelle, Alecia Keys , Mary J. Bilge, as an example. Would have loved to see a variety of artists as well. Stevie Wonder …alone, Lenny Kravitz, The Time, Sheila E, Larry Grahmn. It would have encompassed his genre. Funk, Soul, Pop, Rock, R&B, Blues, Gospel. Sorry,who ever selected Madonna, was not familiar with his music and his style.

  35. Kimberly Carman says:

    That sucked. She sounded and looked constipated. She is at a point in her career if she wants to honor someone, she needs to pull out her checkbook and make a donation in their name!

  36. Kathleeen Newman says:

    Madonna rocks my world. Her respect for Prince and other musicians and performers is something to admire 💖

  37. Isa says:

    Madonna is definitely the Queen, no other words needed than say Thank you Madonna and Steve Wonder, love you both. 💜

  38. Brittany says:

    Utilizing the death of this Music Icon to reboot OAP Madge’s career was a MASSIVE FAIL! #Prince and viewers everywhere deserved much better! I can see #Prince side-eyeing this in Heaven, shaking his head saying “Honey, Gurl…..HELL NO!”

  39. Taahine says:

    It was really hard to watch and listen to. Really sucked. She should of let Stevie Wonder sing Purple Rain by himself.

  40. Tracee says:

    absolutely horrific. Disrespectful to the genius, Billboard should be ashamed.

  41. Leny says:

    What a disgrace to PRINCE! She was horrible ! Plus PRINCE never liked her singing….. Was this a payback. To PRINCE?ugh She massacred Prince songs.

  42. Olive says:

    Oiy vay. I make next to nothing, am currently living with my mother to save money and I feel bad for MADONNA on that sad, lackluster performance.

  43. Rasha says:

    It was horrendous garbage that Stevie couldn’t even save. Prince was one of the greatest musicians of our time, and they used Madonna, an iffy live singer at best. #FAIL

  44. Randy says:

    If you’re gonna sing one of the songs Prince wrote, even if you sing it badly, even if you are nervous, at LEAST get the lyrics right. Shame on you Ms. Ciccone.

  45. abuelita2x says:

    I agree – it was AWFUL, both Madonna & Stevie. What on earth????? Would have been better to do nothing. I cried at the end cuz I was sad for such a botched job of PRINCE’S memory. That was NO tribute to anyone.

  46. Kiwi3 says:

    I was disgusted when I heard she was doing the tribute.
    Yes, Prince certainly had style and a singular one at that but he was all about substance. Madonna has and will forever be all about style OVER substance.
    This should have been a celebration of his life and his music not this cheesetastic, funeral dirge.

    Hopefully the upcoming tributes will be better.

  47. Cn says:

    The best show of this year.

    Love you Madonna, RIP Prince, Nothing compares to you both.

    • Explorer1010 says:

      Best comment I have read, most of these comments sound like Madonna haters so no matter what she did would never been good enough.
      To all of you I challenge you to do one days work in the shoes of this woman. She has survived how many decades and still going strong. Prince I’m sure u were damn pleased with the Queens performance AMEN !

    • miamac says:

      So….you think it was about her, hunh? Exactly.

      Thank God BET is doing a tribute…for HIM.

      • Explorer1010 says:

        yes actually because it’s a article about whether Madonna should or shouldn’t have done the tribute and it’s about if she was good or bad. This ain’t an article about Prince it’s a debate between Madonna fans and haters.
        And the media is eating it up …

  48. Song choices were acceptable. But what’s up with the morbid, ghastly old cemetary montage on the big screen in the background?? Prince’s life & career should’ve featuring vignettes of him rocking out on guitar and dancing, before the Purple Rain cover. Not terrible, but certainly odd.

  49. Grace says:

    To better honor Prince they should have put together segments of his videos with artists singing along because NO ONE can do his songs better than him. This tribute was poor at best. Disappointing!!!

  50. dman6015 says:

    Why does anyone think that Madonna still has talent? She’s a washed up drunk now. They could have done so much better with just about anyone else in the entertainment business. Hell, I would have liked Miley Cyrus more than Madonna (uh-oh, think I’m going to be sick).