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  • Beyoncé has graciously given credit where credit is due for her spectacular, although far from original, Billboard Music Awards performance. She acknowledged being “influenced” by Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini.

    Cuccarini, who is popular in Italy but not well known outside her home country, gave her performance last year and the similarities with Beyonce’s Billboard number were too numerous to be a coincidence, according to a YouTube comparison of the two shows.

    The similarities touched off an Internet firestorm yesterday and a slew of videos were posted comparing the two performances. Check out Cuccarini’s performance here.

    Today, (May 25) Beyoncé tipped her hat to Cuccarini.

    “My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much,” the singer said in a statement to 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,” she said.

    Oddly, YouTube proved to be her undoing.

    There was no shout-out to Cuccarini at the awards show, although Beyoncé had plenty of air time to do it during her acceptance speech after receiving the show’s Millennium Award.

    It was only after YouTube videos were posted showing the similarities in the two routines did it become evident that Beyoncé had copied her performance.

    I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance for the Billboard Awards,” she said.

    Indeed, the performance was spectacular, but there is also the question of artistic integrity.

    In this day and age, singers and rappers frequently use melodies and lyrics from other artists for mash-ups and the line has been blurred between “borrowing” and ripping-off someone else’s work.

    A simple shout-out at the show would have been sufficient, but at least Beyoncé is big enough to admit the “infuence” of another, lesser-known artist, if, unfortunately, it is after-the-fact.

    Check out Cuccarini’s performance here.