The 2016 Billboard Music Awards opened with a barnburner performance by Britney Spears, touching on highlights from throughout her career, from “Toxic” to “I’m a Slave 4 U,” with a brief stop at her 2002 cover of “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll.” Before her performance, she was presented with the Millennium Award, joining past recipients Beyoncé and Whitney Houston.
Opening with “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Madonna covered two of the legendary singer’s songs in the show-stopping performance that saw an icon respect another icon’s legacy. Prince unexpectedly passed away on April 21 at the young age of 57, to the shock of the music industry and fans worldwide. The emotional tribute was preceded with a touching speech by Questlove – at the Queen of Pop’s request – that brought the crowd of celebrities to tears. The Queen of Pop also performed “Purple Rain” with special guest Stevie Wonder. The two led the audience in a clapfest and the crowd helped sing along, many holding their lit-phones honoring Prince.