Why pop stars just can't resist a backing dancer
Ed Power's advice for celebs who get cheek to cheek with their crew
Ooops -- she's done it again. With backstage gossip about Cheryl Cole's friendship with Black Eyed Pea Will.i.am still pinging around cyberspace, the sometime Girls Aloud singer now stands accused of the ultimate showbusiness cliché.
Tottering in the high-heeled footsteps of JLo, Britney Spears and, um, Ronan Keating, she is rumoured to have become romantically entangled with one of her backing dancers.
Paparazzi shots of Cheryl jetting off on holiday with former Dancing With The Stars choreographer Derek Hough have poured gas on gossip that the pair are more than pals.
Apparently, their relationship had become steadily more intense over the course of Cheryl's recent tour -- a period when she was forced to come to terms with the end of her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole.
Speaking to the down-market British press this week, Hough's stepfather admitted the two were romantically linked.
"It will be one of those dream romantic holidays that you take when you are just starting out on a relationship," he said of the trip. "Derek is totally in love with the girl and wants to spend as much time as he can with her."
Physical attributes aside, what is it about backing dancers that makes them so irresistible? When it comes to dating, celebrities tend to stick to their own, rarely getting involved with those lower down the fame food pyramid. For dancers, however, they make an exception.
Rather than being a peculiarity of showbiz culture, it's all down to old fashioned human chemistry, says Beth Squires, editor of the UK gossip site popsugar.co.uk
"Singers rehearse closely with their backing dancers -- these relationships are like the equivalent of an office romance," she says. "Of course, most office romances don't start with workers being paid to writhe around with their bosses in front of thousands of people.
"That built-in flirtation surely means that any genuine chemistry above and beyond what they simulate for the performance becomes clear more quickly than if they held another position in the star's entourage."
There has certainly been plenty of "built-in" flirtation between Hough and Cheryl, as anyone who caught her early May show at The O2 will attest.
Bashing out her single 'Parachute', Cheryl performed a steamy tango-style dance with Hough -- the chemistry between the two unmistakable.
Having already committed celebrity's cardinal error number one -- marrying a footballer -- you've got to hope Cole's latest alleged infatuation doesn't go the way of South Africa's World Cup hopes, ie. ending in a plume of tears, disappointment and bad dancing.
Alas, the omens are not especially positive. Whether it is Madonna getting involved with her personal trainer or JLo's quicky marriage to a dancer, back-stage romances rarely end well.
In fact, they usually finish in the emotional equivalent of a chorus of vuvuzelas -- with both participants wanting to clamp their hands over their ears and run into the night. For any global pop stars who happen to be reading, we present our beginner's guide to dating your dancer.
Do Stay Friends
Though their relationship ended in 1997, less than a year after the birth of their child Lourdes, Madonna and former personal trainer Carlos Leon are by all accounts on good personal terms. When they split, there were no recriminations, no nasty tabloid confessionals, no paparazzi stake-outs. Then again, this was before TMZ.
Don't Make a habit of It
Britney Spears had already been through a blink-and-it's over 'joke' marriage to friend Jason Alexander by the time she took up with 'bad boy' dancer Kevin Federline (aka KFed, aka Fed Ex), tying the knot in late 2004.
One of the world's most scrutinised marriages, their relationship quickly began to crack under the 24/7 gossip-industry glare. It was to prove a nasty break-up, culminating in a custody battle over their two children, Sean and Jayden. Given all of that, you might think Britney would be wary of backing dancers. And yet, last year, she was reported to be 'totally into' another dancer, Chase Benze.
"Brit really loves the way Chase looks and she has a thing for Southern boys with loads of charm," a tour insider told the American press. "And being on tour again, plus having a sexy new guy to get close to, has put Brit in a great frame of mind."
Do Have A Sense of Humour
In May 2008, Madonna snogged one of her backing dancers in front of a Paris crowd. However, there was less to it than meets the eye. The dancer was female and Her Madge-esy was reprising her famous girl-on-girl kiss with Britney Spears, rather than auditioning for Guy Ritchie's replacement.
Do Make sure he knows how to show you a good time
Cheryl's trip to Tanzania was a surprise organised by Hough. She has been in love with the east African country since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief last year.
The location of their holiday was revealed only at the last moment. She was told to bring her passport and meet Hough at the airport. A bit cheesy -- but at least he went to the effort
Don't Make a song and a dance about it
Jennifer Lopez's October 2001 marriage to dancer Cris Judd was a proper Hollywood extravaganza. Security men from the same firm which had overseen the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston nuptials manned a metal detector, confiscating phones from attendees. And the precise location of the ceremony was revealed only on the day of the wedding.
You wonder why she went to all the trouble -- 10 months later, Lopez was stepping out with Ben Affleck. Their divorce was made official in early 2003.
Do Have your revenge by releasing your best ever album
With her personal life in disarray, Britney looked set for pop's junk heap in 2007. But she returned from the precipice with Blackout, a record so good it had everyone from Will.i.am to indie rockers These New Puritans purring its praises.
Don't Be Ronan Keating.
Do we REALLY need to explain this one?