Yesterday (May 22), Madonna and Stevie Wonder paid tribute to Prince during the Billboard Music Awards. The performance, which has received a pretty mixed response on Twitter, was introduced by Questlove, starting with Madonna performing her rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Madonna was later joined by Stevie Wonder for a dramatic singalong of perhaps Prince’s most iconic song, “Purple Rain.”
Questlove gave his own tribute to Prince before introducing Madonna to the stage, referring to his death as “an earthquake” in the music industry. Questlove has been paying tribute to Prince every possible chance he’s gotten since his unfortunate passing, writing a touching essay about his indisputable impact for Rolling Stone last month. The Weeknd also paid tribute to Prince earlier in the night, accepting his award for Top Hot 100 artist, and dedicating it to Prince.
After the performance, a large number of Twitter users criticized the performance, and Questlove and since come out in defence of Madonna. “Let’s not get ugly w playing the ‘Prince would and wouldn’t approve’ game,” he tweeted. “Naturally there will be folded arms & shade thrown because the Purple Standard is hard boots to fill & a lot of us don’t wanna come 2 grips—w the fact that Prince–(an on the surface) face of health & invincible agelessness subcomb to something so….friggin basic.”
He continued, saying, “Every Prince rendition will not be a life changing orgasmic xperience. Just to SING his work is brave enough.”
Watch Madonna and Stevie Wonder’s tribute above, and watch Questlove’s introduction below.