Time Out looks back on some of the Dubai's hottest celebrity sightings
Time Out Dubai Staff
Youvraj Singh: In a city full of cricket-loving expatriates like Dubai, it is not unusual to spot the occasional celebrity sportsman. But this image of Indian batsmen Youvraj Singh has always been one of our favourites. In 2008, he made a visit to the India island in The World archipelago and planted his home country’s flag.
Michael Jackson: Much is made of Michael Jackson’s appearances in Bahrain. He famously moved to the Gulf island after personal difficulties in America. However, it was in Dubai that he first surfaced, spending time with Mohammed bin Sulayem and even appearing with the former rally driver at a Desert Challenge function.
Shakira: Many people considered Shakira’s 2007 gig at Dubai’s Autodrome to be one of the finest performances of the year. A 25,000 strong crowd were enthralled by her belly dancing and exotic South American grooves.
Priyanka Chopra: The opening of The Atlantis Hotel was the single biggest celebrity occasion ever to take place to these shores and it was Bollywood actress Chopra that shone brightest. The Dostana starlet even played the part of the Goddess of Atlantis in the extravagant opening ceremony.
George Bush: When American president George Bush visited the UAE it was nothing short of extraordinary. Security measures were so extreme, a public holiday was declared and traffic stopped throughout the entire city.
David Hasselhoff: Reports of Hoff sightings in Dubai caused quite a stir in the Time Out office in March of this year. So we were delighted to have it confirmed by the man himself on his delightfully entertaining blog. Still worth revisiting if you fancy watching the former Baywatch star enjoying
and signing autographs for Saudi tourists.
David Beckham: Exhibition football matches often draw impressive crowds in Dubai. So when AC Milan used the opportunity to unveil a new signing, there was a giant crowd at the custom-built Sevens stadium. The debutant from Leytonstone had a decent game and was even recognised by one or two members of the crowd.
Justin Timberlake: Yes, we know this one was Abu Dhabi. But it still stands as the moment we admitted the excellence of modern pop music. JT brought sexy to the UAE with an incredible performance that united fans of all ages. Reported sightings in the UAE were never confirmed - despite Time Out getting tipped off that the former NSync star was in about 8 clubs at the same time.
George Clooney: The Dubai International Film Festival has become a regular fixture in the Dubai social, business and cultural calendar. Thanks in part to the red carpet appearances by Gorgeous George in 2007.
Tiger Woods: Even non-golfers love Tiger Woods. Golfers adore him, of course, but it is the fact that he transcends the boundaries of his sport that makes him a real icon. While we’re mildly interested in the numerous commercial deals he is involved with in the Emirates but it is his sporting appeal that makes us look forward to his next visits.
Roger Federer: The popularity of Tiger is matched by few people in Dubai. If anybody comes close, it is Swiss tennis star Roger Federer. While his 15 Grand Slam finals are his greatest achievements, Federer has space in his trophy cabinet for four Dubai Tennis Championship trophies as well.
Kylie: Despite numerous rumours about a Madonna concert at the opening of Atlantis it was pop pixie Kylie Minogue that took the honours in the end. She found time to perform a concert of her own at Festival City in the same week, bless her…
Gordon Ramsay: Gordon Ramsay sightings are by no means a rarity in Dubai. His Verre restaurant is a regular excuse for the Scottish chef to visit one of his favourite holiday destinations.
Shah Rukh Khan: Whenever SRK comes to Dubai we have to be very careful about reporting it because it is likely to cause a bit of a stir. One of the Bollywood titans, Shah Rukh has property on the Palm and is always guaranteed to excite an army of loyal fans.
Frankie Dettori: Like Tiger and Roger Frankie is one of Dubai’s favourite sporting icons. He started giving the love back when he opened his own restaurant, Frankie’s in the city.
Shilpa Shetty: Shilpa is instantly recognisable to a legion of fans in India and Britain. Thanks to her Bollywood career and a surprise victory in British Big Brother. She enjoys the paparazzi treatment at fashion events and nightclub appearances in Dubai.
Kyla: To Filipinos in Dubai the concerts of Kyla and JayR were entertainment highlights of 2008. The songstress is considered to be the Mariah Carey of her home country and wowed supporters with sweet personality and powerful voice.
Bill Gates: Our friends at technology website
www.itp.net got more excited about this appearance than they’d probably like to mention. Although he doesn’t have quite the same tabloid appeal as Kylie Minogue and Shakira he is one of the world’s most recognizable people.
Fatboy Slim: Superstar DJs make headline news at clubs in Dubai on a weekly basis but they don’t come any bigger than Mr Norman Cook.
Bon Jovi: It is difficult to overestimate the effect Bon Jovi coming to Dubai had on otherwise clear-thinking women in the UAE. More than 20 years of rock and roll worship have not reduced his appeal and simply being in the same country as JBJ was enough to send a few people a little bit crazy.
Venus Williams: The Williams sisters have dominated women’s tennis for years and look like they will continue to do so. After picking up the singles trophy in 2009, Venus will be welcomed back any time.
John Abraham: Bollywood hunk John Abraham believes Dubai to be lucky place for him and his films. The city has hosted several Abraham premieres and considering he is always so nice we’ll welcome him back any time.
Maria Sharapova: Although she has never won the Dubai Tennis Championship, Sharapova is always one of the most popular attractions at the tournament. So besotted with her are large parts of the community here that she has even been used to promote one of the more ambitious housing developments.
Robert De Niro: He’s just cool isn’t here. Why he turned up for the Atlantis opening we don’t know. Maybe he likes fireworks?
Piers Morgan: Former tabloid newspaper editor and Susan Boyle fan Piers Morgan is so fascinated by Dubai that he decided to make a documentary all about it for British television.
Anil Kapoor: After co-starring in Slumdog Millionaire Anil Kapoor became a regular fixture on red carpets and at parties around the world. The license to appear whenever something fantastically glamorous is happening is one that Kapoor is not afraid to use. Here he is with Monica Belucci.
Lindsey Lohan: With some of the world’s biggest celebs coming to the opening of the Atlantis Hotel competition to grab tabloid headlines was fierce. In the end Lindsey Lohan and her colourful private life won the day quite easily.
Amitabh Bachchan: The world’s most recognisable person is a regular brand ambassador in Dubai. With numerous commercial ventures on the boil he is probably most noted for his work with the Damas jewelry line but was also the star attraction at the IIFA awards in 2006.
Ronahaldinho: The Beckham-mania that engulfed AC Milan’s 2009 exhibition match in the UAE was only diluted by the samba army that turned up to watch the great Ronaldinho perform.
Santana: Despite having multiple hit albums in the 1970s Carlos Santana’s fame waned in the 80s and 90s. The twenty first century brought the greatest peaks of his fame and with it the inevitable world tours. A Festival City gig was hastily arranged and 15,000 fans justly rewarded.
Nancy Ajram: One of the biggest celebrities in the Arab world and one of the most easily spotted. Numerous advertising deals mean she is never far from TV screens and billboards across the city but it is her regular concerts in front of a largely Lebanese crowd that has really left an imprint on Dubai life.
Aerosmith: The Dubai Exiles ground will never again play host to another classic Dubai gig. We just have to hope Steve Tyler and the gang come back to perform one of our new venues.
Kanye West: It is not often that we put a celebrity on the cover of Time Out Dubai magazine. But when Grammy winner Kanye came to the Desert Rhythm festival we knew it was time to change our rules.
Maroon 5: Dubai’s obsession with Grammy winners is almost as great as the love of skyscrapers and expensive restaurants. Which is probably why Maroon 5 got along with us so well.
Pink: Yes, you’ve guessed it – another Grammy winner. We also think that the punky popster (or should that be poppy punkster) takes the prize of sweatiest celebrity to ever perform in our adopted city as well.
James Blunt: He has never won a Grammy but Jazz festival headliner James Blunt also appears high on our list of sweaty celebs.
Salma Hayek: The finest Mexican export since the taco, Salma Hayek was a style queen at the Dubai International Film Festival last year.
Michael Schumacher: The Formula 1 legend has retired from professional sport but remains an active business and promotional figure in the city. His own housing development and a rumoured island on the World seem likely to keep him around for a while longer as well.
Haifa Wehbe: There’s something about Haifa Wehbe that we find vaguely hypnotic. Perhaps it is her pageant good looks or distinctive good looks. Or perhaps it is the fact that nearly every Lebanese man we know is unashamedly obsessed with her.
Youssou N'Dour: Many people may have missed appearances by Youssu N’Dour but the man described by Rolling Stone magazine as the most famous singer in Africa his global fame cannot be denied. Youssu, you’re welcome back any time as far as we’re concerned.
Richard Branson: The ‘celebrity CEO’ is never afraid of a photo opportunity and has turned up for a variety of promotional events and parties in Dubai over the years.
Michael Jordan: Greatest athlete of his generation? Possibly. Questionable choice in evening wear? Definitely.
Bill Clinton: Unlike George W, Bill Clinton never came to Dubai while he was President of the USA. He has made up for the omission ever since with high profile business links and public speaking opportunities.
Shane Warne: Yes, we know he is a cricket player – but look closely at the picture again. (We bumped into the Aussie sensation in Deira City Centre once as well).
Ronny Corbett: Robert De Niro, Michael Jordan, Amitabh Bachchan, Ronnie Corbett – Dubai has hosted all the greats. Don’t recognise the other two though…
Beyonce: On her own, with Destiny’s Child she doesn’t care. Beyonce just loves Dubai and we’re more than happy for her to come back every week if she wants to.
Amr Diab: For some in the Time Out office a regular Amr Diab concert is the only opportunity we get to listen to live Arabic music. Now we mention it, maybe it is time he came back for another show?
Russell Peters: The Canadian/Indian comedian holds a peculiar notoriety in Time out circles. He is the only person to have ever crashed the Time Out website due to intense consumer demand. The two times he has visited concert tickets have sold out in record time.
Pamela Anderson: We aplogise that this is another Abu Dhabi picture. We just love the fact that the former Baywatch star is making as many waves as her former on-screen boss (see David Hasselhoff in picture 6) in the UAE. We’re still crossing our fingers and hoping her eco-friendly hotel opens in the near future.
Paris Hilton: Perhaps not the most talented but certainly the most celebrated. Paris Hilton’s few weeks in Dubai were nothing short of sensational. Radio shows, magazine covers, newspaper articles all took celebrity stalking to new heights in Dubai. Not to mention the Twittermania she sparked…