"So this is an idea that Chris said to me, he said 'I think you should come sing this at the Rose Bowl.' I'll be honest: I didn't know how big it was when I said yes," Corden told the stadium-filling crowd before delivering the powerful, stripped-down take on the Prince-penned classic.
Prior to the performance, Martin teased the audience with a (made-up) story about how Corden was once a member of Coldplay.
"What people don't know is that there was another guy that we all met and we all thought was the most talented member, and he was so good that if he had been in our band forever, we'd be the best band you ever knew. But instead he chose to forge his own path," Martin said in introducing Corden. "But I'm very pleased to tell you that – in honor of Prince tonight because we wanna honor Prince – we managed to convince our missing and best member to come back into the band. You may know him from things like "Carpool Karaoke" and that kind of shit, but we know him as the guy who turned down being in a band with us."
Following the performance, Coldplay surprised Corden, whose birthday is August 22nd, by having a cake brought out from backstage and leading a stadium-wide sing-along of "Happy Birthday to You."
"Nothing Compares 2 U" is the third Prince song Chris Martin and company have covered since the late icon's death on April 21st, following "Sometimes It Snows in April" and Martin's rendition of "Raspberry Beret" with an eighth-grade band.
The BET Awards featured numerous tributes to Prince, by The Roots, Erykah Badu, Bilal and more.