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Prince’s Friend Tamron Hall ‘Did Not Like’ Madonna’s Tribute at Billboard Music Awards 2016

Nothing compares 2 the original. Tamron Hall, who was close with Prince, weighed in on Madonna’s tribute to the late icon at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 22, and she wasn’t a fan of the rendition.

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The Material Girl belted out “Nothing Compares 2 U” before Stevie Wonder joined her on stage for a cover of Prince’s most iconic song, “Purple Rain.” Her performance was met with mixed reviews on social media — some criticized her vocals while others loved the heart and emotion she poured into the set.

Hall, whose selfie appeared on the cover of Prince’s 2015 single “If Eye Could Get Ur Attention,” expressed her thoughts on the Today show on Monday, May 23, saying that she tries to separate the Prince she knew from the musician. “I have to compartmentalize. I’ve learned in the last few weeks there’s Prince the artist and then there’s Prince the personal part of my life,” she said. “I did not like that version. I’m just being honest, and I love Madonna.” 

Madonna is seen performing on stage during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. JB Lacroix/WireImage

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While she appreciated that the Grammy-winning songstress was also a friend of Prince, she didn’t think the sound quality would have been up to his standards. “I love the idea of Madonna. They had a friendship. They knew each other,” Hall said. “He was so specific. I mean, honestly, we wanted him to perform on the Today show, and it was a big deal, and he was like, what about the audio? He’s very, very to the letter about the audio and maybe that’s how it sounds on TV. Maybe it sounded better in person.”

“I’m sure she was nervous as heck, even though she’s Madonna,” she continued. “I wasn’t against her doing it, but once I heard it, I have to be honest I didn’t like it. It’s hard when someone is so iconic and was such a perfectionist and is such a perfectionist still. I can’t imagine being in her shoes.”

The Today show coanchor wasn’t the only one to criticize the performance. After the awards show ended, BET network tweeted a teaser of their upcoming Prince tribute and wrote: “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We Got You.” Some fans of the “Purple Rain” singer also started an online petition at to stop Madonna from performing and claimed that Prince was “more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer.”

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However, the “Like a Prayer” singer wasn’t fazed by any of the negative comments. Earlier on Monday, Madonna responded to critics in two Instagram posts. “Deal with It!” she captioned the first pic. In a nearly identical second photo, she wrote, “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to. Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!! I love Prince 4 ever.”

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