Madonna's Prince Tribute Draws Shade, Promise of Better From BET Awards

Madonna’s tribute to the late Prince at Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards earned an average grade of “C” from TVLine readers — but apparently failed to pass muster with the BET Awards.

Shortly after Madonna (with an assist from Steve Wonder) wrapped her moody, somber “Nothing Compares 2 U”/”Purple Rain” tribute to the fellow music legend, the BET Awards Twitter account sympathized with those who felt it fell short, promising a better revisiting of Prince’s career during their own kudoscast, on June 26:

What exactly BET’s annual awards show has planned to pay respect to Prince has not been detailed, though in a recent press release the cabler said, “In addition to celebrating the best in entertainment, we’ll also spend time throughout the show remembering Prince as only BET can. You can count on memorable performances and moments in honor of a true legend.”

Do you think Madonna’s purple-clad performance is the one to beat, or are the BET Awards certain to better honor Prince?

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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  1. Martina says:

    It says it got an A in the poll above, I actually thought it was great, it celebrated Prince the artist & the fact that he created a lot of music for other artists. It’s really hard to pull off Nothing compares 2 U and Sinead O’Connors haunting voice but Madonna managed it well I thought.

    • peterwdawson says:

      It averaged a C when you factor in that the C was the 3rd most popular and A and F are pretty close.

    • Temperance says:

      The haters hated it, as expected (just because it was Madonna). I though it was pretty good, Other than a few slight wobbles, she sounded really good. It wasn;t the best song choice for her, and the approach was too glum. But at least Madonna had a LOT of guts, singing live unlike so many others that ‘performed; Brittney? Beiber? So, so so lame.

  2. Steve says:

    Hmm. BET being snippy. Guess it’s cool to diss Madonna.

  3. AJ says:

    Madonna can’t belt it like Adele or Christina, never could, so don’t know what BET expected. Madonna has been very sincere about her love and respect for Prince, it was a heartfelt tribute by her and Stevie. I’ll take an imperfect emotional performance over much of the soulless popular music of today.

    • Amanda says:

      Sorry…as an AVID Prince fan, there wasn’t anything “sincere” in her performance! It really wasn’t even a tribute, it was too much Madonna and not enough Prince! Now, I like Madonna, she’s a beast….HOWEVER she wasn’t the correct fit to do this tribute, not when there were so many MORE artist that Prince influenced that probably would’ve JUMPED at the opportunity to do this! Alicia Keyes is just a name that jumps out first…heck The Weekend dedicated his award to him and he would’ve rocked out better. And why in the world would she do Nothing Compares To You? After all the controversy that’s surrounding that song right know, isn’t she getting sued by Arsenio Hall for slander and didn’t she slam Prince? They didn’t even do a guitar solo, now when have you ever seen Prince without a guitar?
      Bottom line…..they had the first shot to do a good tribute and they blew it! Stevie Wonder acted as if he didn’t even know he was doing a tribute… was poor poor effort for an icon that can never be replaced!

      • evababy says:

        You are so right. This was more about the person doing the singing than the person whose homage it was supposed to be. Billboard put Madonna out there because they wanted a Name performer. But if it really was about paying tribute to Prince it would have been someone who could do real justice to his music.

        Prince formed, like, five different bands and discovered tons of talent. They could have gotten the Revolution up there and they could’ve had a mini reunion. They could’ve pulled in the New Power Generation. Morris Day & the Time. Sheila E. Janelle Monae. The Family. Heck even Carmen Electra! LOL.

        I think BET will do a much better job because unlike Billboard they’ll have no issues with trying to pull in a Big Name. They are fine with bringing in folks who really have a connection with the artist. Last year when they did the BabyFace tribute it was fantastic and basically everyone who ever worked with Babyface was up there.

      • Angela says:

        Avid Prince Fan Madonna is not sueing Arseneo it is Sinead O’Connor who Prince had record the song and Sinead has for years spoke badly about Prince. Now, I don’t think she will be doing a tribute that would be disrespectful t OK him and he would not want that. I know BET will come through

        • Apowell says:

          Now I like Madonna. I’ve seen her live and am an admirer of Prince. I’ve seen him live. Nothing and no one does compare to his multifaceted, mastery of talent.
          I enjoyed Questlove’s emotional statement and I was relieved to see Stevie Wonder be involved and practically save that performance.
          Prince songs are challenging to sing. His level is pretty regined.
          If anyone knows or is familiar with Prince they will know how critical he is of music, mainly his music, and has never really been keen on others doing covers of his songs. That’s why I initially thought it a good choice to do a song he handed over to another recording artist, but the song was not a good match for Madonna’s chops or vocal niche.
          I was disappointed. But I’m sure Prince’s soul was stripped of man’s thinking, looking down, and was happy to be thought of.
          That being said I’m looking forward to BETs tribute LOL although I think it’s not the same for anyone other than Prince to sing his masterfully arranged vocals and screeches. 😪

  4. Prince supplied us with 39 albums in his lifetime. Thousands of live music performances, and all we can do is that performance in memory. Hog wash.

  5. LADY_in_MD says:

    Did anyone think that maybe his family didn’t release the rights to many of his songs so maybe they performed what they were given
    Also for all of you saying there are way better artists out there who could have performed well I didn’t see any of them on stage last night with Madonna have anyone of them put anything out besides a tweet or two?? Even the weekend acknowledged he never met Prince just that he was influenced by him so doesn’t it makes sense for the person performing to be someone he actually knew?? That’s just my two cents

    • Angela says:

      Obviously you are not a Prince Fan or you have done your homework. His estate is not settled and yes his True Family and Friends are organizing a Tribute together. Prince didn’t even care for Madonna they had not spoken in years over twenty to be exact until 2013. And, this came from the horse’s mouth.

  6. Michelle says:

    That was pretty funny. The tribute Madonna did was awful

  7. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    I think BET is going to pull it off. I saw Madonna’s tribute it was a bit meh for me. Gave it a C.

  8. Micheal Jackson, Madonna and Prince were the top performers of their decades and THEY BROKE BARRIERS. A top performer SHOULD SHOW/PAY RESPECT to other top performers!. Madonna is Italian. The Italian Culture is BIG ON RESPECT!. The Italian top performer is SHOWING/PAYING RESPECT to another top performer. American Society in general, obviously LACKS RESPECT! as well as the proper concept of it!. It DID NOT EVEN OCCUR TO ANYONE: THE ITALIAN AT THE TOP IS SHOWING/PAYING RESPECT! to another who is on top.

    • The Carpooler says:

      Whoa, easy there, Katrina. No need to yell to get a point across.

      • That’s not yelling.The exclamation point(s) was a visual to emphasize the significance of Madonna being chosen.She’s not a church choir girl paying respect to the deceased from the perspective of a fan who is not a paid professional.She is an ALL-AROUND ARTISTICLY EXPRESSIVE PERFORMER WHO was part of the generation of ; Barrier Breaking,Globally-Performing,Controversial,Message-Sending,Image-Forming Creativity,who paved the way for today’s generation of singers.Most importantly:HER,MICHEAL JACKSON and PRINCE were the top performers;HER TRIBUTE MEANS MORE THAN SOMEONE WHO SINGS NICELY FOR A PERFORMANCE!. The three of them came up in the, so-called industry, facing EQUIVACLE DEMANDS and all three of them were: ALL-AROUND ARTISTICALLY EXPRESSIVE PERFORMERS!!. Again the exclamation points are to express importance not anger.

    • Tai says:

      It occurred. But that doesn’t make it good.

      • It was good because she was not singing to be acclaimed for a vocal performance! (the exclamation points are to visually express importance of the topic,not anger). Madonna,Micheal Jackson and Prince were ALL-AROUND ARTISTICALLY EXPRESSIVE PERFORMERS.Madonna performed from the perspective of a top performer giving a Eulogy to another top performer in the style all three of them performed in: ALL-AROUND ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.Madonna,Micheal and Prince are of EQUIVACABLE STATUS FOR DECADES,her tribute means more than someone who sings nicely to gain acclaim for the performance of a TRIBUTE!.

  9. RK says:

    Could the BBMA’s pulled together a whole situation with current pop stars out vocalizing each other and riffing on their guitars pretending to be Prince like? Sure. I for one thought it was more meaningful to have his friend and fellow 80s icon pay tribute. Madonna herself has said she’s not the best singer but at least she knew the guy. The Weekend made that speech thanking Prince “who he did not know but was close to” which made no sense.The one current act I would like to see pay tribute to Prince is Beyonce, since she has performed with him, there is a connection there. That would be epic.

  10. Rena says:

    BET spent years ignoring true artists like Prince in favor of dollar store rappers and auto tuned scantily clad nonsense popstars. Now that the man is dead they suddenly care. A little late. Madonna was friends with Prince for decades, as Stevie Wonder was. Please cut the competition crap. Prince would probably throw shade at everyone for this nonsense.

    • Patricia P says:

      God forbid they have a bunch of rappers do the tribute. Nothing against the genre, but it is NOT Prince. He was rock and funk, could slay a guitar with the best of them. Love the R&R Hall of fame clip where Prince is playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with the white boys, when it was his turn to do a solo, he made one of them stand there with his mouth agape! That is the genius of Prince!!!!! Gosh, I miss him….

    • Angela says:

      Obviously you are not a BET fan or a Prince fan. BET has always supported Prince for years they were playing his first videos when MTV was not. MTV started playing his videos when he released 1999. And Prince and Modonna did not have a close friendship as everybody thinks. He would throw shade at Madonna in interviews and they had not spoken in years until 2013 and even then they were colleagues that came from the same era. His close friends are Sheila E, Chaka Chan, Andre Cymone. …those are the ones that will and should pay tribute.

  11. Colleen says:

    I was waiting for someone to play some bad ass sick guitar, and it never happened so disappointed! Also think no one made a tribute to Natalie Cole and she was amazing!! Come on BET help us out!

  12. Jake says:

    I personally don’t see what was wrong with Madonna or anything of this tribute. It was classy and pleasant..even Nothing Compares 2 u which I am not a huge fan of was good. People are just so quick to spread their own hate etc. Hats off to Madonna for taking time out of her schedule to do this tribute as well as Stevie Wonder.

  13. Maria Ackerman says:

    Bet should be ashamed of themselves for this ad that shames a fellow performer. Disgraceful..I will not watch..Madonna did classic Madonna..a very simple and pure tribute to Prince from the heart..

  14. Charles says:

    BET needs to get real. The performance was to celebrate Prince in a nice manner, not to see who can outdo the other. Madonna was great in doing this.

  15. Stef b says:

    Madonna & Prince were the 2 icons of the 80’s. They represent all of the music that dominated that decade. It was completely natural that she did a tribute. I believe it was respectful & a perfect tribute to someone she loved & respected. Unlike Lady Gaga’s mess of whatever that was (and I happen to like her), Madonna was truly grieving for her friend & our legend. If BET wants a spectacle then let them do it, but to me this was the way to do it!

  16. Michelle Bland says:

    Madonna, like Prince is a pop culture icon. She gave a touching & heartfelt performance. If you were expecting an exceptional singer, we’ll sorry. She did her best to pay tribute to her friend, and I suspect he would have loved it.

  17. Suz says:

    That was a tribute to the enormous commercial success of Prince’s music of the 80’s. Madonna was chosen because they were peers and contemporaries. Whoever designed that tribute chose to only use photos from the 80’s. There were NO recent photos used. Madonna worked within her very limited vocal range and probably did her best. The entire tribute came across as commercial mediocrity grappling with/saluting artistic excellence. Woefully lacking in substance but bright, shiny and glittery, all the same. Which pretty much sums up today’s pop music scene.

  18. M. says:

    I am ashamed of the RACIST, sexist and age-ist bigots at BET (and who replied to this post) and I’m even more ashamed of this website RUN BY A GAY MAN for posting an article about their hatred, and adding more fuel and attention to the prejudiced fire. Congrats on adding to our declining culture and proving that cruelty is acceptable, as long as its behind the veil of the internet.

  19. Walrus says:

    This is just BET’s attempt at trolling for more viewers.

  20. Cassie Klein says:

    She sucked so bad, words cannot justify how bad. She sounded and looked terrible, shows no talent. Didn’t even sell any resemblance of sincerity. It was beyond the worst thing had to change it,.she did however prove what I have heard for years that she’s an attention WHORE.

  21. Reverence to Authentic Artist says:

    Prince was a musical genius, we have not yet had anyone who composes,produced,arranged, engineered, qrote all of his own music,played all 27 instruments on his albums, wrote for other musicians, had phenomenal vocal range of 5 octaves,best guitar player on earth as stated by Mr. Eric clapton himself; spent his entire life making wonderful music and giving best performances ever, no one can deny ..and you chose Madonna beyond pathetic. Aside from her lack of talent and just drawing attention to herself, Billboard should be ashamed Prince deserved way more recognition and talent. No other artist in the industry has EVER graced the covers of all instruments , bass, keyboard,guitar,etc Billboard should have payed more reverence to him. Not to mention his fight for rights with the music industry to help all artists, THESE ARE ALL FACTS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT OUT THERE. SO SAD BILLBOARD IS INDUSTRY AND DIDN’T ACKNOWLEDGE AND PAY TRIBUTE TO ALL OF THIS GIVEN BY HIM FOR HISTORY OF MUSIC. POINT BLANK, CEO OF BILLBOARDS WAS SO WRONG FOR NOT MENTIONING ALL OF THIS ABOUT HIM. NO ARTIST HAS DONE THIS AND YOUNGER GENERATION AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT HIS MUSIC GENIUS. SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN HIS TRIBUTE. WE WERE BLESSED TO HAVE SEEN THIS IN OUR LIFETIME BECAUSE NO ONE PAST OR PRESENT HAS DONE ALL OF THIS OR MAY EVER.

    • Temperance says:

      Actually, it was a huge thing in Detroit. Several of the radio stations did nothing all day but play Prince music and have call-ins where people could talk about what he meant to them or the great memories his songs were coupled with. I actually talked about it for a couple minutes in my college class, and many of the young folks were really familiar with Prince.

  22. Madonna’s performance was done from the perspective of a top performer giving another top performer a Eulogy in the form of ALL AROUND ARTISTIC EXPRESSION not from the perspective of a CHOIR GIRL paying respect for the deceased from the perspective of a fan who is not a paid top performer. It was a perfect choice of LYRICAL CONTENT;NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU.

  23. Marie says:

    It’s like waiting all night just for the PRINCE tribute and then……………………………………still waiting and waiting and waiting and then the shock sets in, that’s it…………………………..

  24. says:

    I’m just not sure Madonna was the one to do “A” tribute. I blame Billboard, regardless of who did the reaching out. He deserves more than 2 songs at the end of show and turning the lights down with a purple hue is N automatic prince momment that Is going to happen regardless of who and where, we will always sing along because we love Prince and we want to share in this spiritual connection. I believe more thought should have been put into it afterall, look at what he gave us….

  25. dj says:

    I feel that prince did so much in life to get something that simple

  26. jenn says:

    Was expecting a lot more out of performance……Prince wouldn’t have been proud