LAS VEGAS: Madonna came under fire for her tribute to Prince during the Billboard Music Awards ceremony, which critics saw as too distant from the late artist himself.
Wearing a shimmering lilac-colored suit, she took to the stage at the end of the evening and sang Nothing Compares 2 U followed by Purple Rain as she held the hand of surprise guest Stevie Wonder.
Despite the tangible emotion, critics said her performance was disappointing, panning it on social media.
Her interpretation was full of languor and devoid of any solo guitar, a key element of the late Minneapolis singer’s repertoire, and far removed from a typical Prince performance and its unique brand of danceable funk.
Writing on Twitter, British singer Dave Stewart of Eurythmics set the tone: “Please don’t have Madonna attempt a Prince song.”
She was the last of a line of artists who paid tribute to the late singer, including Wiz Khalifa, Seal and Canadian singer The Weeknd, who dedicated his first prize to Prince.
“I don’t know him. But he was very close to me. And he will always be an inspiration. And of course, helped me push the envelope forever, and every artist I hope,” said the visibly-emotional singer, who took home eight trophies.
During his last televised appearance, Prince had given The Weeknd a prize at the American Music Awards in late November.
Another highlight was a performance by Celine Dion, who was making her return to the stage since the death of her husband Rene Angelil in mid-January.