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Madonna’s Billboard Music Awards Prince Tribute Was Weak Enough to Get BET Shade

"Yeah, we saw that."

Update: Madonna isn’t ignoring the critics. The superstar made Instagram posts flaunting her purple attire along with a caption that addressed the reactions toward her Billboard Music Awards Prince tribute. “Anyone who wants to do a tribute to Prince is welcome to,” she says. “Whatever your age Gender or skin Color. If you loved him and he inspired you then show it!!!!”

Deal with It! @beautyandessexlv

A photo posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

This is my ” I’m not your bitch don’t hang your shit on me” Dance ??????

A video posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

Among the few justifications for Madonna being chosen to pay tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards was that both artists were part of the ’80s triumvirate of pop-transforming superstars (along with Michael Jackson), and that she and Prince dueted on the Like a Prayer album cut “Love Song,” and may have briefly dated. But defenses of Madonna being the right choice to lead the award show’s tribute withered away as she delivered string section-backed renditions of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain” to close off the ceremony on Sunday night.

The slowed-down, funereal versions of the songs were met with a fan response that was mixed at best. Stevie Wonder joined in for “Purple Rain,” but even that couldn’t save what was a staid performance. Compared to some of the tributes that came before Sunday, Madonna’s memorial seemed too quaint for an artist that inspired a good portion of the evening’s audience and nominees.

?uestlove, who introduced the performance, took to Twitter to defend the tribute.

BET took the opportunity to throw shade right after the performance. The BET Awards’ Twitter account released a short clip teasing the upcoming show and planned Prince tribute, saying, “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. We Got You.” Disappointed fans were again filled with anticipation.

The BET Awards already paid their respects to Prince when the show presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. The tribute included Alicia Keys, Patti Labelle, and Janelle Monae. You can watch footage of that performance below. The BET Awards will air June 26.