When Beyonce took to the stage at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards this past Sunday (May 22), she gave what was, quite possibly, the performance of her lifetime. It certainly ranks up there among the most memorable in the award show's history. Honored with the Billboard Millennium Award, Beyonce performed her current single, 'Run the World (Girls)' while dancing and interacting with high-tech video projections synced behind her.

Beyonce's performance dazzled just about everyone, but afterward it quickly became the center of a controversy, as too many aspects appeared to be lifted from a performance by Italian pop singer Lorella Cuccerini in 2010. The visuals, dancing and even sequencing are remarkably similar at points. And now, AOL Music reports that Beyonce has responded, in the form of an explanation.

"My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much," Beyonce told AOL Music. "I then met with the talented people who worked on it. The technology and concept were so genius. Thank god for YouTube or I would have never been exposed to something so inspiring. I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance for the Billboard Awards."

Just as Cuccarini's piece "inspired" her, Beyonce's performance will now, no doubt, inspire other artists in turn. Stay tuned for examples. And that, of course, is exactly why Beyonce is a Billboard Millennium Award recipient.

Watch Beyonce's 2011 Billboard Music Awards Performance

Compare the Two Performances

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