Madonna as Prince tribute choice defended by awards chief
The choice of Madonna to pay tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards has been defended by the awards' executive producer.
The decision has been met with some criticism and sparked an online petition to remove Madonna from the tribute performance.
Mark Bracco said: "Listen, I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and everyone can have their own opinion, but I will say that we are honoured 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.
"I think it's going to be fantastic."
Madonna and Prince collaborated on Love Song from Madonna's 1989 album, Like A Prayer.
Mr Bracco did not say what song Madonna would perform, but said 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.
After the initial announcement earlier this month, a Change.org petition was launched. Mr Bracco said that after Prince died on April 21, the show's producers brainstormed ways to honour his legacy before Madonna's representatives called.
"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."
Prince was found dead in his suburban Minneapolis home aged 57. Madonna is the same age.
Other performers at the Billboard Awards 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.