Madonna Brings Stevie Wonder Out for Emotional Prince Tribute

by Sophie Schillaci 8:59 PM PDT, May 22, 2016
Playing Madonna Brings Stevie Wonder Out for Emotional Prince Tribute

Madonna brought the Billboard Music Awards audience to its feet with an epic, very purple tribute to Prince.

The 57-year-old pop diva took the stage on Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to honor her late friend, delivering an emotional performance with help from Stevie Wonder.

WATCH: Prince Mourned at Private Religious Memorial Service in Minnesota 

As the lights dimmed and turned the entire arena purple, audio of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" set the tone for the start of the performance.

Next, entering the stage in a lavender suit and ruffled shirt, sitting on an oversized velvet throne (also purple, natch), Madge opened with a touching performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U." Behind her, black-and-white imagery from a graveyard bearing messages like "Hope" and "Brother" played behind her, before transitioning into a slideshow of iconic Prince photos and, by the end, slow-motion footage of doves flying through the air.

Photo: Getty Images

WATCH: Mariah Carey Reacts to Prince's Death: I'll Never Get Over It'

Enter: Wonder, who joined Madonna for a rousing rendition of "Purple Rain" that had Rihanna and The Weeknd among the audience members singing along.

"Thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for all that you have given us," Madonna concluded, closing out the ceremony.

Prior to her set, Questlove -- wearing a purple pin in the shape of Prince's symbol on his suit lapel -- shared a heartfelt homage of his own.

PHOTOS: A Look Back at Prince's Most Iconic Moments

"No matter what kind of music we make, no matter how long we've made it, no matter our race, our color, our creed, our sexual orientation, all of us live in the land of music and his departure from it was an earthquake," he said. "We can follow the trails he blazed, we can follow his examples. We can be fierce, we can be uncompromising, we can be experimental, we can also listen to all those songs that he left for us."

Elsewhere in the broadcast, The Weeknd made a point to thank Prince while accepting the first award of the night.

"I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince," he said, recalling the time Prince presented him with an award at the American Music Awards in November. "That was, like, the greatest experience of my entire life. ... He will always be an inspiration and helped me push the envelope forever, and for every artist, I hope. Rest in peace, Prince. I love you."

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Seal also referenced the late superstar as a former Icon Award recipient while introducing this year's honoree, Celine Dion, prompting huge applause from the audience.

On the red carpet, Kesha seemingly paid homage to the legend in a purple suit.

Photo: Getty Images

Prince was found dead on April 21 at his Paisley Park estate, located just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was 57. 

WATCH: Inside Prince's Private, Star-Studded Memorial