*A petition launched to stop Madonna’s planned Prince tribute at this Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards has led its executive producer to come out in defense of the decision.
“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,” executive producer Mark Bracco said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be fantastic.”
As previously reported, Prince fan “Stacey Flygirrl Wilson” launched the petition at Change.org, saying, “We cannot let Madonna be the main and only artist tributing Prince during the 2016 Billboard Awards. He is more than worthy of a better choice as a main performer.”
Madonna and Prince collaborated on the 1989 track “Love Song” from Madonna’s, “Like a Prayer” album. Bracco didn’t say what song Madonna would perform, but stressed that her tribute would be “really beautiful.”
“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,” he said.
Bracco said that after Prince died on April 21, the show’s producers brainstormed ways to honor his legacy. And then he got a call from Madonna’s people.
“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,” he said. “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 Billboard Music Awards will air live at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Other performers include Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Pink, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, the Go-Go’s, Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Tove Lo, Troye Sivan and Lukas Graham.