NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Music Performances

Cynthia Erivo's Cover of Sinéad O'Connor's “Nothing Compares 2 U” Is Stunning

Nothing compares to Erivo's Kennedy Center performance of the Prince-penned, chart-topping hit. 

By Jessica White

As one of the most incredible vocalists of the decade, Cynthia Erivo has amazed audiences with her rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U."

The bewitchingly talented Wicked star never fails to deliver a chills-inducing performance, and her Kennedy Center performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" is a shining example of her larger-than-life talent.

RELATED: Cynthia Erivo's Magnetic "Edelweiss" Cover Is Julie Andrews-Approved

Having already earned a Grammy and Tony Award — as well as Emmy and Oscar nominations — Erivo is well on her way to E.G.O.T. status as an industry powerhouse. Her ineffable talent for captivating audiences has established her as a unique voice who never fails to mesmerize.

Watch Cynthia Erivo's performance of "Nothing Compares 2 U" from her December 2023 Kennedy Center concert here.

Cynthia Erivo's "Nothing Compares 2 U" at the Kennedy Center

Cynthis Erivo performs during Season 5 of The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Erivo performed "Nothing Compares 2 U," originally written by Prince and popularized by Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O'Connor, in December 2023 at the Kennedy Center in honor of Cynthia Erivo & Friends: A New Year’s Eve Celebration.

The entire concert is featured in Season 2 of Next at the Kennedy Center.

From the moment Erivo began singing the first stanza, the audience erupted as her crystal-clear pitch stole the spotlight. Pouring passion and grief into each heartbreaking verse, she brought a unique sense of vulnerable intensity to the beloved ballad.

Erivo's spin on "Nothing Compares 2 U" could be a vocal masterclass. During the softer notes, she infused delicate sincerity; she then effortlessly slid up to the powerful belts that have made the song so timeless. Her raw, aching emotion seamlessly reflected the deep longing embedded within the song's lyricism, and her ability to navigate the song's dynamic range with expert precision is a testament to her sensational skill.

Erivo's rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U" registers less as a cover song and more as a respectful reinvention that brings a refreshing intensity to the lovelorn track.

Cynthia Erivo's "Nothing Compares 2 U" at New York City Pride 2024

Cynthia Erivo performs onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards

Erivo also performed the track in June 2024 while headlining Stonewall Day during New York City's Pride celebration.

Injecting powerful soul into the performance, Erivo has cemented her own version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" that effortlessly keeps up with its legendary predecessors.

What to know about "Nothing Compares 2 U"

The late Prince wrote "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1984. The "Purple Rain" legend originally wrote the track for his funk band side project, The Family. Featured on The Family's self-titled 1985 album, "Nothing Compares 2 U" initially failed to gain traction as a hit.

Then, Sinéad O'Connor catapulted "Nothing Compares 2 U" to global fame.

The Irish singer-songwriter released her version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1990 on her sophomore album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. O'Connor's reimagining of the track tweaked the key to F major, allowing her raw vocals to snag the limelight. The intimate music video won three 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, with O'Connor making history as the first female artist to win the category. The song earned O'Connor three Grammy nominations in 1991.

RELATED: Cynthia Erivo on Singing with Ariana Grande in Wicked: "She's Got a Family Member for Life Now"Over 30 years after its creation, a demo of Prince's original 1984 studio version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was released in 2018 as a music video. This release provided a unique opportunity to witness the song's evolution as Prince & The Revolution performed a stripped-down rendition of the track in the Minnesota studio where it was conceived.