The Billboard Music Awards managed to incorporate a tribute to the Queen of Disco Donna Summer who died of cancer just days before Sunday’s broadcast. Before launching into Summer’s 1978 hit “Last Dance,” British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield said Summer “inspired so many women including me.”
Bedingfield’s cover wasn’t as triumphant as the original but it was respectfully done. However, just as the song’s ballad intro faded and the track turned upbeat, the show producers segued into a commercial break.
Some viewers complained online. “Donna Summer was literally the voice of an era! they should have at least let Natasha finish the song,” New York’s Hot 97 DJ Angie Martinez said via Twitter.
Another Twitter user agreed. “Way to cut it short Billboard,” Jamie Sward Tweeted in response to Billboard’s post, “Natasha Bedingfield gave her all during her Donna Summer tribute.”
Spokespersons for the Billboard Music Awards and ABC have not yet replied for responses. One can only imagine how difficult it is to make last minute changes to a live broadcast.
In addition to Summer’s late passing, Bee Gee’s co-founder Robin Gibb died the day of the awards. Co-host Julie Bowen acknowledged Gibb before a commercial break. “Just over an hour ago we received the very sad news that the music world lost another legend,” she said before asking the viewers to take a pause to pay respect to Gibb.