Madonna paid tribute to Prince during the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night, covering “Nothing Compares 2 U” before bringing Stevie Wonder onstage for a moving rendition of “Purple Rain.”
Questlove introduced the tribute, comparing Prince’s death to an “earthquake” and allowing a moment of silence to memorialize the singer. Following the silence, Prince’s voice rang through the venue with his iconic “Dearly beloved…” intro to “Let’s Go Crazy.” Madonna, who collaborated with the singer for ”Love Song” off Like a Prayer, appeared onstage on a throne. The singer, wearing a glittery purple suit, offered a solemn take on “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Towards the end of her cover, Wonder walked onstage to belt “Purple Rain” before the audience turned the tribute into a massive sing-a-long
Prince and Madonna briefly dated in 1985, a few years before the “Love Song” duet. However, things began growing sour between the pair for the next few decades as they carried on a feud that seemed to end in 2011 when Madonna attended one of Prince’s concerts.
However, their peace was short-lived when Prince called out Madonna in a 2013 interview with Billboard where he named Madonna as a reason for his split with label Warner Bros. “She was getting paid, but at the time, we were selling more records and selling out concerts on multiple nights,” he said. “It wasn’t about her. This was about business.”
Before his sudden death in April, it seemed that the pair had been on good terms once more. Following the Minnesota stop of her Rebel Heart tour, she stopped by Paisley Park for a late-night jam session the rocker put on with his backing band 3rdeyegirl. She even accompanied him as he made his way to the stage before taking a spot in the VIP section to watch Prince perform.
Stevie Wonder opens up about his friend Prince’s vast influence in the wake of the icon’s untimely death. Watch here.