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Cheryl reveals new tattoo at Girls Aloud show

Cheryl Cole’s lower back was the focus of attention when the singer revealed a huge tattoo that had been inked on ahead of the Girls Aloud live tour. The minimal outfit she wore on stage for the Newcastle show exposed what looked like half a rose bush crawling up her back.

It is her tenth tattoo, coincidentally in the tenth year since Girls Aloud formed. Cole (her attempt to rebrand herself as simply "Cheryl" doesn’t seem to have taken) says it will be her last, as the pain is simply too much to bear.

The tattoo took 15 hours to complete, over two days. "I actually got it five months ago," she said, "but it’s somewhere on my body you wouldn’t expect people to see it very often. I’m done with tattoos – it’s my final one." The work was done by Californian Nikko Hurtado, who, judging by the finished "art", appears to have a comprehensive collection of wallpaper catalogues in his studio.

Apparently Cheryl was under the impression that all of the Girls Aloud members would be having tattoos to mark the anniversary. Perhaps they all nodded and said "Right Cheryl, course we will, you go off and have that roses thingie, we’ll catch you later."

"They all thought about it for a bit but were too scared and changed their minds,” Cole said, apparently genuinely surprised. Nicole Roberts didn’t rule out something a little less elaborate. "Maybe just a tattoo dot like Phoebe in Friends," she said.

The incident seems unlikely to alter the widespread perception that Cole is not quite the brightest star in the pop firmament. Twitter reaction was not entirely enthusiastic. "Looks like the skin’s been ripped off her back to reveal the flesh underneath," was one unsisterly observation. Cheryl's taste in tattoos is somewhat eccentric. She has a barbed wire motif around a thigh and a reptile crawling across her bottom (presumably a tribute to Ashley, or maybe Simon Cowell).

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