A tribute to the 57-year-old icon will form one of the key moments in the awards show, and organisers have secured the services of Madonna as the person to pay tribute.
You could hardly think of a more perfect fit: Madonna is sadly the last of the big 1980s musical icons — among them Prince, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston — still standing. On top of that, she and Prince had a relationship that extended f-rom the professional — they recorded a duet together, which appeared on her 1989 Like A Prayer album — to the personal. As recently as last year, Prince invited Madonna and her touring entourage to his Paisley Park studios for a private performance.
Madonna is expected to perform one or more Prince songs at the awards ceremony. Picture: AP Photo/Kin CheungSource:AP
Throughout their careers, the pair shared a friendship that ranged f-rom the flirtatious — they were rumoured to have dated briefly in the 1980s — to the competitive. In recent years, their occasional professional rivalry had seemed to mellow, and Madonna herself said she was “devastated” by his death.
And yet, some don’t think Madonna has what it takes to properly pay tribute to Prince. A petition set up with the rather inelegant title ‘Stop Madonna f-rom being the only artist tributing Prince during the Billboard Awards’ currently has more than 75% of its target of 10,000 signatures.
Madonna paid tribute to Prince in the wake of his death.Source:Twitter
“We cannot let Madonna be the main and only artist tributing Prince during the 2016 Billboard Awards. He is more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer,” the petition’s creator, ‘Stacey Flygirrl Wilson’, writes.
Others commenting on the petition agree, suggesting artists f-rom Lenny Kravitz to Janelle Monae to Sheila E. would be more appropriate choices.
It’s unclear what exactly we should expect f-rom Madonna’s tribute, but her role is expected to be musical, rather than just delivering a speech to her departed friend as she did at the 2009 VMAs in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death.
Now, the executive producer of the awards ceremony, Mark Bracco, is defending the decision to have Madonna pay tribute to Prince.
“Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honoured and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show and to pay tribute to someone that was her friend and her peer and her colleague,” Bracco told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be fantastic.”
Support for Madonna has also come f-rom more unlikely sources: talk show host Wendy Williams, famed for trash-talking celebs — Madonna included — addressed the controversy on her show this week.
“Oh really Prince people? Who do you think is worthy?” she asked.
“There are three people in the trinity of greatness in music as far as pop stars that are age appropriate … and two of them are dead: Michael, Prince and Madonna. That’s it!”