"Prince is an icon."
The Billboard Music Awards started its tribute to the singer with those four words.
Prince has been a music and cultural icon for decades, and Billboard chose to honor him at Sunday's Billboard Music Awards. The singer received the Billboard Icon Award and also performed at the awards show.
"The 'Purple Rain' singer-songwriter-musician follows the 2012 Icon recipient, Stevie Wonder, who received a multi-tiered tribute led by Alicia Keys," Billboard said.
Erykah Badu and Janelle Monáe presented Prince and his legacy to the world, including to many who are too young to remember his glory days.
"The man we know as Prince is a true artist, and he is our friend," Billboard said. "And he is a visionary. He breaks new ground; he reminds us don't you ever compromise your art."
"He is the greatest live performer of his generation," the intro said.
Prince came out on stage with a new look and showed exactly what Badu and Monáe had said he would: that he is an amazing performer. Just as any icon might do, Prince didn't perform any of the songs you might expect but gave an amazing performance nonetheless.
The 2013 Billboard Music Awards was a mix of past and present, and there were many artists from the 1980s and 1990s. Madonna received an award for top touring artist, and a member of A-ha showed up to sing on a track where their music was sampled. Pitbull and Christina Aguilera's "Feel This Moment" ended with Morten Harket from A-ha singing the original song, "Take On Me."
While many of the fans of the Billboard Music Awards may not remember the early days of artists like Madonna, A-ha or even Prince, the Billboard Music Awards did its best to show they are still important artists.
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