Was it truly awful, or just horrible? A fiasco, or a crime against humanity?
Twitter users did not mince words in trashing Madge's performance, in appraisals like these:
Madonna performing a Prince tribute is offensive on so many levels.
Let me be the first to say.......she sounds awful. #Madonna #BillboardMusicAwards.
Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to see a horrific flat version of my music @Madonna #BBMAs #PrinceTributeGoneWrong.
Madonna is really ruining everything for me.
And ruin things she did, it seems, for a majority of viewers.
When Prince fans first heard the news that Madonna would be performing the tribute, a Change.org petition was launched in protest. The backlash was such that the event's producer, Mark Bracco, was forced to make a statement defending his choice.
Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honored and could not be more excited for Madonna to be on the show and to pay tribute to someone that was her friend and her peer and her colleague. I think it’s going to be fantastic.
It's going to be very, very intimate and very respectful, and I think it's something that is really going to pay tribute to Prince as the incredible, groundbreaking artist that he was and the influence that he had on music.
Still, many thought that a Black artist would be more appropriate for the homage.
So, want to know how Madge was chosen? She had her people call Bracco to make the pitch! He explains,
Honestly her team gave a call and inquired about what we might be thinking about and it led to many conversations about what would she want to do and how would we want to shape it creatively. And after everyone (got) comfortable with exactly what the direction was, we all collectively wanted to go into Madonna, that she would do this and she has been very, very involved in how this will all unfold creatively.
The hubris! Even from Madonna, it's kind of staggering. I mean, how about Mavis Staples, Jennifer Hudson or Sheila E? According to many reports, Madonna and Prince had a huge and years-long falling out, during which she referred to him as a 'little troll.' And yet she felt she was the person best qualified for the tribute?
You decide if Madonna's ghastly performance was awful or horrible.
I'm going to go with a crime against humanity..