"At the end of the day, it's him bringing people together and having a good time," Sheila E. previously said of being "honored" to pay tribute to Prince

By Maria Pasquini
January 26, 2020 09:13 PM
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After opening the Grammys by honoring late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who died hours before the awards show in a helicopter accident, the show went on to pay tribute to another gone-too-soon legend, Prince.

Sheila E., Usher and FKA twigs took center stage at the 2020 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday for the special salute.

After host Alicia Keys called the late pop star her “hero,” Usher, 41, kicked off the medley with a cover of “Little Red Corvette, joined by Sheila E on drums. Then he turned up the energy and grooved around the stage as he moved into “When Doves Cry.”

Usher performing at the 2020 Grammys.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
FKA twigs dancing with Usher at the 2020 Grammys.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty

FKA twigs, 32, danced on a pole and then joined Usher to show off her moves with him during his version of “Kiss,” which had the audience at the Staples Center on their feet.

She later tweeted that she would have preferred to sing during the tribute, but was happy to be involved.

“Of course i wanted to sing at the grammys,” FKA twigs tweeted. “i wasn’t asked this time but hopefully in the future. none the less what an honour. congratulations to all the winners x.”

Sheila E., 62, Prince’s one-time fiancé, and longtime friend and collaborator, will also serve as musical director for the Recording Academy’s upcoming concert special in honor of the late icon.

She said that she trusted Usher to choose the songs.

“I asked Usher what he wanted to sing,” she told press after the performance. “If someone’s gonna do a tribute, you wanna ask them what songs they would like to sing because it has to be personal. You can’t just say, ‘Yeah, just sing this song’ because it doesn’t mean anything to them. I wanted to go through what songs meant something to him lyrically. It’s important for him to dance, to sing and be featured and as an entertainer he does all of the above.”

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Prince in 2011
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty

Earlier this month, the Recording Academy announced the upcoming concert, titled Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince, which will be performed on Jan. 28 in Los Angeles, with a televised air date in April. Among the artists enlisted to evoke the Purple One are John Legend, Usher, Common and this year’s Grammys host, Alicia Keys.

“Regardless of how you identify [Prince], he is indisputably one of the greatest musical virtuosos of all time,” Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan said in a statement.

“With his subversive attitude and commanding nature, he straddled musical genres and created electrifying music that was bursting with character,” he added. “He continues to serve as an inspirational icon for artists and fans worldwide, and we are so honored to pay tribute to his legacy.”

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammy Awards coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.

Sheila E. and Prince
Jesse Grant/WireImage

Sheila E. previously told Rolling Stone that she was “honored” to pay musical tribute to Prince, who died in 2016 at the age of 57, “for so many reasons.”

“To be able to help celebrate the life of a dear friend and be a part of this and be musical director is awesome,” she said. “Musically, there’s so much to choose from. … It’s almost unfair to do a two-hour tribute to him — we could do a full week.”

“At the end of the day, it’s him bringing people together and having a good time,” she added.

The 62nd Grammy Awards are airing live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

  • With reporting by DARLENE ADEROJU