Patti LaBelle Feels ‘Really Great’ About Tina Turner Tribute Despite Lyrics Snafu

Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner (Credit: Deposit Photos)

Patti LaBelle honored her late friend Tina Turner Sunday night at the BET Awards with a heartfelt performance — but LaBelle encountered a few unexpected bumps along the way.

Things were off to a good start when the “On My Own” singer took to the stage. The godmother of soul wore a glittering fringe dress reminiscent of Turner’s iconic style, and she had the crowd buzzing as she started her rendition of “The Best.”

However, as the performance went on, the 79-year-old singer began to fumble the song’s lyrics. LaBelle admitted during the live performance that she was having a hard time following the lyrics on the teleprompter, telling the crowd, “I can’t see the words, and I don’t know. I’m tryin’, y’all!”

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LaBelle trended on social media Sunday night with some viewers calling the tribute a “fiasco.”

On Monday, she addressed the performance in an interview with Good Morning America, noting that she was still “proud” to have been able to celebrate Turner’s life.

“I was so blessed to be asked to honor Tina Turner because that’s my friend from back in the day,” LaBelle told GMA’s Michael Strahan. “Such a wonderful woman who’s done everything and so many people admire her. And when I did it last night, I was proud, honey. I felt really great.”

While LaBelle did not discuss what went wrong during her performance, a spokesperson for BET provided some clarification in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It was an extraordinary privilege to celebrate the life and legacy of Ms. Tina Turner at BET Awards 2023. Having the incomparable Ms. Patti LaBelle on our stage honoring one of her contemporaries was an equal privilege,” the statement began.

The spokesperson went on to reveal that fans were blocking LaBelle’s view of the teleprompter: “Due to the crowd’s enthusiasm, the teleprompter was obstructed, obscuring Ms. LaBelle’s view of the lyrics. Nonetheless, we couldn’t be more grateful to Ms. LaBelle for lending her incredible talent to this moment.”

LaBelle did her best to make light of the situation on Sunday night, asking at one point during her performance, “Where are my background singers?”

The question seemingly alluded to another snafu that took place during her performance of “This Christmas” at the 1996 National Tree Lighting Ceremony, where her cue cards got mixed up.

This time around, the “Lady Marmalade” singer powered through and received a standing ovation by the crowd. LaBelle capped off her performance with a message to her late friend, saying “God bless you, Tina Turner,” before leaving the stage.