Sexy diva Blu Cantrell infuriated eighties band Kool And The Gang by pulling out of a TV performance with them hours before it was due to be broadcast.

The BREATHE singer was scheduled to perform with the group - who she collaborates with on her current album RELOADED - on British TV show STRICTLY COME DANCING, but claims her fear of flying prevented her from arriving.

But close friends blame her ex-boyfriend TONY DE NIRO's "controlling influence" on her no-show.

An insider tells Britain's DAILY MIRROR newspaper, "Kool And The Gang were hugely disappointed as Blu is seen as key in the re-branding of their band. Without Blu it looked like they were plugging an identical version of their 24-year-old CELEBRATION song."

Blu's close friend explains, "Her relationship with Tony ended months ago, but in recent weeks she's hooked up with him again. He's a controlling person who likes to know where she is at all times. Last year (03) they got caught up in a bar brawl and Blu lost the sight in one eye."

16/06/2004 17:02