2011 Billboard Music Awards

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Yes, Beyonc? Saw The Sanremo Performance, But No, It Wasn’t A Ripoff

Beyonc?‘s much-lauded 2011 Billboard Music Awards performance came under scrutiny yesterday for its similarities to a performance by Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini at last year’s Sanremo Festival. But the 2010 performance was only one of many influences, according to the creators of the Billboard spectacle.

Beyonc? herself spoke to AOL Music about the comparisons. “My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much,” she explained, adding, “Thank god for YouTube.” (Nevermind that Mary J. Blige performed at the same festival.) Though Beyonc? ultimately chose other collaborators for her performance, she did meet with “the talented people who worked on [Cuccarini's performance].”

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Was Beyonc?’s Billboard Music Awards Performance Plagiarized?

As Beyonc?‘s show-stopping 2011 Billboard Music Awards performance spread across the internet yesterday, Vulture noticed that an eagle-eyed fan recognized the screen-projection portion of the choreography as strikingly similar to a performance by Italian television personality Lorella Cuccarini at the 2010 Sanremo Festival. This enterprising viewer placed the performances side by side in one video, for comparison’s sake (viewable above). But upon watching the Cuccarini performance alone, the suggestion of plagiarism gets a lot more complicated:

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2011 Billboard Music Awards: Highlights and Lowlights

HIGHLIGHT: The use of remixes in performance segments. Even excluding the two Britney Spears features (records that we like, but which could be industry warning signs), Ke$ha‘s performance featured a segment of the Cirkut remix of “Blow,” and Cee Lo Green‘s medley included an extended version of the spaghetti-Western break that Danger Mouse sampled for the “Crazy” beat, plus an electro remix of “Forget You.

LOWLIGHT: Britney’s feature spots themselves. It’s hard to know what to make of her enervated performances, especially when her companion was practically using his arm as a seatbelt on her when they were in the audience, and while her father is insisting she’s mentally unfit to give legal testimony, but she was handily shown up by both Rihanna and Nicki Minaj (who first came out dressed as a member of G.I. Joe nemeses C.O.B.R.A. only to have that armor stripped off her by someone in a chicken suit, and then replicated the lapdance choreography she performs on tour). This does not bode well for her upcoming tour, but more than that, we’re just worried about her!

HIGHLIGHT: Cee Lo, on the other hand, was in fine form, and we salute his continuing stylistic tributes to Elton John. ?Apparently the Muppet-”Crocodile Rock” Grammys homage wasn’t a one-off, judging by Green’s bedazzled outfit and glasses (not to mention the piano, which he didn’t appear to play at all).

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Beyonc? Dominates the 2011 Billboard Music Awards

After a five year absence, the Billboard Music Awards returned in full force to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last night. The awards are largely determined by airplay, sales, and fan engagement, so there’s not a ton of suspense about who the winners will likely be?so the ABC telecast wisely focused on the performances, not the awards, making for a much more engaging show (more like a VMAs than a Grammys).

The best performance, by a long shot, was Beyonc?‘s Millennium Award package. After a black-and-white interview segment in which everyone from Beyonc?’s parents to Barbara Streisand to First Lady Michelle Obama sang her praises, a countdown began (starting from 4, the title of Beyonc?’s new album) and then her meticulously choreographed “Run the World (Girls)” performance began. Read more…