Sugababes have had a string of hits over the past 10 years
Pop trio Sugababes pulled out of the annual May ball for students at Aberystwyth University after one of the group missed her flight from Dubai.
Students had paid £40 for tickets to see the chart-topping girl group.
Last year singer Jamelia cancelled and in 2006 Liberty X were forced off stage when a smoke canister was let off.
But student union officials said Friday's event went "fantastically well" despite the cancellation by the Sugababes and another act, Alphabeat.
Ticket holders were compensated with a £10 drinks voucher at the event, staged in nearby Pontrhydfendigaid Pavilion.
In a statement on the Aberystwyth Guild of Students' website, Steve Pickup said he had heard rumours all week that the act had cancelled.
He said a "dreaded call" from the Sugababes agent just after midday on Friday confirmed they had cancelled.
He said: "The reason they have stated is that 'one of the girls missed their flight back from Dubai earlier today and the next one doesn't get in before the show'. Brilliant.
"The fact is we can do nothing when this situation happens - and it has happened two years' running.
"So much time, effort and energy is put into making this the event of the year for everyone concerned that words cannot express the anger and frustration with which we are all left with."
Officials said Alphabeat cancelled "due to an unavoidable promotional activity in Europe".
Aberystwyth student Alice Holland and boyfriend Ben Johnson had paid £40 each for their ball tickets, and she said: "I think it's a bit unfair that they've pulled out so late on because £40 is a lot of money to a student".
The acts who did make it to the ball were Goldie Lookin' Chain, The Vengaboys, Abba tribute band Bjorn Again and singer-songwriter Doug Walker.
Last year when singer Jamelia cancelled, students were given a £10 bar tab as compensation.
In 2006, Liberty X were forced off stage after a smoke canister was let off two minutes into their concert.