Mary J. Blige 2011
Mary, in a blue blouse and fedora, sings the house down at Black Girls Rock.

Last night's (Nov. 6) 'Black Girls Rock' 2011 Awards, taped Oct. 15 in NYC, proved performances can make an award show. This year's Black Girls Rock introduced us to newbie songstress Elle Varner and took us down memory lane with a few legends such as Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu. With a roster that also included Jill Scott, Estelle, Melanie Fiona, Shirley Caesar and Mary Mary there were a few moments that set the bar for next year's show. Check out The Juice's top five performances of the 'Black Girls Rock' 2011 Awards.

Mary J. Blige Performs Classics, Tatyana Ali Returns to Music & More at 'Black Girls Rock'

1. Erykah Badu opened the show with a remixed rendition of her classic "Appletree." Badu, in a protective golden armor that shielded her shoulders and shins, brought the crowd to their feet with her beatboxing and album, "Baduizm."

2. Jill Scott left the audience speechless with a powerful spoken word. The Philly native flawlessly transitioned into her girl power anthem "Hate On Me" and shined brighter than her silver sequined suit.

3. Mary J. Blige shut NYC's Paradise Theater down not once, but twice. Her performance of "My Life" was accompanied by a touching video montage of women of all ages reinforcing the night's message. MJB closed the night with the upbeat anthem of self-confidence, "Just Fine."

4. There wasn't a dry eye in the house after Estelle performed "Tears I Cry." The British songstress held her own in last month's BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, but last night the world saw the softer side of her. Estelle was so choked up by the end of her performance that she barely finished the ballad.

5. Elle Varner, in platforms only a soon to be diva can walk in, fearlessly took the stage to sing "Only Wanna Give It To You," sans J. Cole. The quirky vocalist proved to an unfamiliar audience that her bluesy voice is one that shall be heard for some time to come.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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