With Nicole Scherzinger at center stage for the Pussycat Dolls, the other cats always seem to be clawing around her, vying for the camera's attention.
Even in groups where no one gets star billing -- from 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys to Destiny's Child -- the spotlight still always seems to shine on one member, a star who is always highlighted in interviews and photo shoots and is always the heartthrob of the crew. For the Pussycat Dolls, Scherzinger seems to be the one, even though she came later to the group than some of the other members.
Tamara Conniff, executive editor of Billboard, says Scherzinger's musical ability might be the reason she gets all the attention.
"Usually, there is a standout in any group, and the Pussycat Dolls is no different," Conniff says. "Nicole is the favorite because she was on Popstars and she is also the key musical figure in the group -- she writes most of the songs."
The Pussycat Dolls, founded by choreographer Robin Antin, started off more than a decade ago as a burlesque performance group and got its first regular gig at the Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard, when Johnny Depp owned it. They used to practice their sexy moves in Christina Applegate's garage. Antin and Applegate roomed together for some time in the '90s.
With Carmen Electra as the lead dancer, the group's popularity increased. Soon, celebrities like Charlize Theron and Gwen Stefani wanted to be Dolls for a night.
The current Dolls were put together in 2003 when Robin Antin decided to turn them into pop stars. Now with hits like "Don't Cha" and "Stickwitu," it seems it's here to stay.
Joe Levy, executive editor at Rolling Stone, says the Pussycat Dolls is an "image-driven pop band."
"The Pussycat Dolls are an interesting phenomenon. For a lot of musicians, it starts with the music, and then they turn themselves into a brand," Levy says. "The dolls were a brand first and then recording artists. Music is literally second for them."
Levy says the image is why a lot of people like them. And the fact that they can sing and dance definitely helps, he says.
The Pussycat Dolls was crafted and each of the six members was carefully chosen by Antin. It cannot be said with certainty whether Antin chose Scherzinger to be the leader.
Lou Pearlman, the brains behind 'N Sync, says that she may have just naturally taken on the role. He says that group leaders aren't necessarily crafted.
"The person just emerges. Justin, being the youngest, usually stood out," he says, referring to Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync. "He was the best vocalist, too, but really it's the personality that is important."
He says a group without one or two seminal members would be a boring group.
Gilda Carle, a New York psychotherapist, says that the emergence of a leader in a group is "absolutely natural.
"Somebody always rises to the top and feels that he or she has to take control and needs to have more of a say," Carle says.
Sometimes having to compete with the lead in a group can lead to drama. It certainly seemed that way for former Destiny's Child members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. Both split on bad terms with Beyoncé and were involved in a lawsuit with Beyoncé's father and then manager of the group. They claimed Knowles was playing favorites with his daughter.