Sheila E. wasn't ready to play it. But she told ET that she had to on Sunday's American Idol.
On a special Prince-centric episode of American Idol on Sunday, Sheila E. joined the house band to help contestants perform The Purple One's songs in an emotional appearance. Contestants performed some of Prince's biggest hits, including "Kiss," "Nothing Compares 2U," "When Doves Cry" and "Manic Monday."
But Sheila E., Prince's longtime collaborator and one-time fiancee, told ET's Lauren Zima after the show that there's one song she wasn't sure she was ready for.
Michael J. Woodard chose as his song "I Would Die 4 U," a song Sheila E. hadn't played since Prince's death in April 2016.
"Tonight was the first time I played 'I Would Die 4 U' since he passed and I said I would not play that song until I was ready," she told ET. "But because the kids were doing it, I'm like I'm gonna be a part of this next generation of kids celebrating his music."
The judges were impressed with Woodard's performance and he survived to sing another day. More importantly, Sheila E. gave her stamp of approval, saying he "sang his butt off."
Sheila E. said that she still has questions about Prince's death and that there are tragically "so many things that are left undone and unsaid."
But she said that he would have appreciated Idol's moving tribute to him.
"Oh, he would of had a great time. I mean the contestants did an incredible job," she said. "As I told them earlier, it's like you're not trying to replace, you're gonna do your own version and the purpose of this really is to continue Prince's legacy and that is his music."
American Idol airs on Sundays on ABC.
For a look at Prince's collection of unreleased music, watch the video below.
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