Back when Ellen DeGeneres started her talk show in 2003, she didn’t have a huge following or a league of famous friends, but she did have one thing: Prince. The star appeared on the very first season of DeGeneres’s show, “which you have to understand is a big deal because most stars wait to see if a talk show is going to be successful,” she said.
The host paid tribute to her late friend today by revisiting his very first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “You’ve heard me say it many times before, but the coolest part of having this job is that I get to meet incredible artists and heroes of mine, and they perform right here in front of me,” DeGeneres said, wearing a purple button-up shirt and jacket to honor the late star. “And of all the bands and artists that I’ve had on the show, there was no one like Prince. He was an artist. He was an icon, a genius.”
In the clip from his 2003 appearance, DeGeneres is just as awestruck over her idol. “You’re so dynamic,” she told Prince. “I’ve been a fan, like I said, from the very beginning. You’re just a true genius. But just seeing you live, the energy, you’re just somebody special and so talented.”
The singer showed off that infectious energy by performing his hit, “Kiss,” pulling members of the audience on stage to dance with him. Watch the full clip above to pay tribute to the late star.