Now we know why Prince didn’t give “Nothing Compares 2 U” to his friend, and collaborator, Madonna.

The song he wrote that became a worldwide hit for Sinéad O’Connor was about 10 inches away from being absolutely awful bouncing off the vocal cords of Madonna during Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards tribute. I instantly wanted an audiological palate cleanser. That didn’t happen because Madonna, mercifully joined by Stevie Wonder, was the finale to the show as they sang “Purple Rain.”

Who decided it was a good idea for the background video to feature SCENES FROM A CEMETERY? I am not in denial about what comes after life, but that was jarring. It was tasteless, incongruous imagery even if borrowed from some Prince video.

But back to Madonna’s vocals. Singers who never had strong good voices just can’t afford to subject their instruments to cigarettes as they age, Madonna.

I do not hate Madonna. I agree with a lot of the stands she has taken (save the emotional missteps that were Sean Penn and Dennis Rodman). She seems to know something about parenting and I have nothing but admiration for how she opened her heart to make the lives of two African kids better.

But this tribute to Madonna’s friend, and collaborator, will not be recalled as a highlight. It’s being savaged on social media, probably by the same people who were outraged when it was announced that Madonna would be the one honoring the memory of Prince.

Talk show host Wendy Williams told viewers that with Michael Jackson deceased, the only other iconic contemporary of that stature available to do a Prince tribute was Madonna. (What about Celine Dion?) “Who’s supposed to do it, Janelle Monáe?” said Wendy. “She might have a better voice than Madonna but I don’t want to see that” because she is not on the same plane as Prince, Michael and Madonna.

Not that Wendy was giving Madonna’s performance a pass: “Social media is attacking her, saying the performance wasn’t good enough. I have to agree with social media. I thought, vocally speaking, Madonna sounded horrible. Visually speaking, I thought she looked fabulous. I loved the purple throne, the simplicity of the stage. I also enjoyed that Stevie Wonder came out there to help her.”

Somebody at BET donned a pair of dark glasses and tweeted this about the BBMAs Prince tribute: “Yeah, we saw that. Don’t worry. [We’ve] Got You.” BET will have no problem doing a better tribute when the BET Awards air June 26 and I’ll bet money that Monáe, Prince’s protégé and friend, will be on that show.

Prince and Madonna were friends. When Madonna performed here in October, Prince sang to her at Paisley Park. They reportedly were lovers long ago and then there was a period of estrangement before they’d renewed their friendship.

However, this collaboration talk befuddled Twitter’s @Toure, who wrote a book about Prince. “I’m not sure why Madonna is being announced as a Prince collaborator. When exactly did they collaborate?” tweeted Toure.

Apparently, 1989’s “Love Song,” a forgettable tune from her “Like a Prayer” album.

Good thing there isn’t a statute of limitations when it comes to words like collaborate.

Braxton gone from ‘The Real’

Better tell this Tamar Braxton story before everybody forgets who the co-host of “The Real” is.

Word has it that, while making a Fox 9 appearance, Braxton and her large entourage absconded to the green room and stayed there until it was time for her to come out for the “Buzz” interview. Meanwhile her husband, Vince Herbert, hung around the newsroom and couldn’t have been more engaging.

The third season of “The Real” won’t include Braxton. A statement said the decision was mutual, although she suggests her co-hosts stabbed her in the back. Her contributions — substandard grammar, neck rolling, lip pursing — in part led me to nickname the talk show “Real Ghetto.” She’s reportedly going to concentrate on her singing career, even though she is no Toni Braxton.

She isn’t sorry

Fox 9’s Shayne Wells was snooping around TCF Stadium for a scoop on Beyoncé ahead of her Monday performance. Before getting yanked off camera by a superior — live during the “Jason Show” — a security staffer told Wells that Beyoncé has a private Porta-Potty and so does Blue Ivy. I imagine neither is probably like any Porta-Potty you’ve ever seen.


C.J. can be reached at and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.