If you’ve checked any social media platform in the past 12 hours, then you know many folks aren’t happy with Madonna. The Queen of Pop paid tribute to Prince at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night (May 23). Clad in a frilly purple suit, cane in hand, Madonna belted Sinéad O’Connor’s Prince-penned tune “Nothing Compares 2 U” before welcoming Stevie Wonder on stage to duet “Purple Rain.” It was a touching (albeit short) performance, done with poignancy, grace and simplicity. Was it safe? Yes. Was it bad? No. Not by any standards.
But don’t tweet that. Twitter’s fangs came out as soon as Madge hit the stage. People really seemed to hate this performance, criticizing everything from Madonna’s song choice, vocal ability and complaining that it wasn’t “enough.” Just check out a few messages, and you’ll understand the overall consensus.
— D'yonne Hines (@hines_dyonne) May 23, 2016
Madonna should never ever try to sing a Prince song again. Epic failure!
— Debra Johnson (@Debra_Johnson1) May 23, 2016
Wow, Madonna really butchered Nothing Compares 2 U.
— Ryan (@r2vh2) May 23, 2016
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 23, 2016
This is an extreme swarm of hate for a tribute that was actually quite nice. Was “Nothing Compares 2 U” a questionable opening track? Sure, but only because O’Connor and Prince didn’t get along. Lyrically, the song was very fitting, which is probably why Madonna chose it in the first place.
And please stop saying she didn’t sound good. She sounded great. Madonna’s never been much of a vocal powerhouse, but her pipes last night were more than just working. In fact, this was one of her best vocal romps in recent memory. Just because she can’t hit some of those Prince high notes doesn’t mean she can’t carry a tune. She did that. More than that.
It’s really Madonna the world has a problem with, not the tribute. Madge could’ve done something longer and flashier and people still would complain. People enjoy picking on Madonna. They have for years. Hell, thousands of people signed a petition for Billboard to replace Madonna before even seeing her tribute. If that doesn’t scream biased crowd, then what does?
Madonna has messed up tributes before. Her speech about Michael Jackson at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards was more about her than him. But this wasn’t a misstep. Madonna was smart to keep this tribute short, safe and sentimental. It went off without a hatch, and there was literally nothing offensive about it. It was all about Prince. And that’s what really matters.
Simply put, Madonna doesn’t deserve your fangs for this. For “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” sure. But not this.