The wrong goodbye: rewatching the strangest award show tributes ever

Madonna’s VMAs ode to Aretha Franklin has been labelled a self-indulgent disaster but it’s not the first time an onstage tribute has gone wrong

Let’s get this out of the way from the get-go: Madonna’s rambling spiel about Aretha Franklin at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this week was just about as weird as award show tributes get. Dressed as a berserk cross between a scarecrow and a dreamcatcher, Madonna took Franklin’s legacy and forced it through a prism so utterly self-regarding that even the jazzed-up kids in the audience looked like they were losing the will to live. It was just about as strange and awful as these things tend to get.

Related: MTV VMAs: Madonna tribute to Aretha Franklin proves divisive as Camila Cabello wins big

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