Beyonce's BBMA Performance: 'I Never Worked So Hard in My Life'
Beyonce's BBMA Performance: 'I Never Worked So Hard in My Life'

Beyonce's show-stopping performance of her latest single, "Run the World (Girls)," at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night (May 22) showcased the singer synching her dance moves with images on a large video screen behind her, and proved to be one of the highlights of the star-studded ceremony.

Days after the eye-popping spectacle, Beyonce says that the performance pushed her like no other stage show has before. "I never worked so hard on anything in my life as that performance for the Billboard Awards," Beyonce tells AOL Music.

A YouTube clip that surfaced on Monday stirred up controversy by showing Beyonce's performance side-by-side with a similar performance by Italian pop singer Lorella Cuccarini, but Beyonce says that she was in fact inspired by Cuccarini's number at the Sanremo 2010 Italian music festival. "My makeup artist showed me the performance of Lorella Cuccarini a year ago, and it inspired me so much," Beyonce says. "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."

Beyonce's performance also featured an army of back-up dancers and a slew of pyrotechnics falling from the ceiling of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After showcasing "Run the World (Girls)" for the first time on network television, Beyonce was presented with the Billboard Millennium Award by her mother, Tina Knowles, and proceeded to breathlessly thank her parents, the singers of Destiny's Child and her husband, Jay-Z.

Beyonce Accepts Billboard Millennium Award, Delivers Show-Stopping Performance

Beyonce's fourth album, "4," is due out June 28; in an interview with Billboard earlier this month, the pop star namechecked artists like Fela Kuti, Florence & the Machine and Prince as main inspirations on the full-length. "I also gave myself more freedom to really belt out some songs, and bring soul singing back: I used a lot of the brassiness and grittiness in my voice that people hear in my live performances, but not necessarily on my records," she says.

Beyonce: The Billboard Music Awards Q&A