By Nancy Perry Graham
May 24, 1999 12:00 PM

Was American pop singer Jennifer Paige thinking of Prince Albert when she performed her recent hit “Crush” at the 1999 World Music Awards in Monaco? I’m told that the eligible Albert, the event’s patron, hit it off with the 25-year-old entertainer and that the two, according to one guest, “parried the night away.” They chatted during the gala’s pre-and post-events and later turned up at Jimmy’z, the Monte Carlo hot spot, with a group of pals who danced till dawn.

More news from the World Music Awards: Britney Spears may be the hottest musical comer on this side of the Atlantic, but the 17-year-old was so overwhelmed by performing at the event, which included such A-listers as Janet Jackson, Cher and Will Smith, that she was nearly in tears before taking the stage to sing her hit “Baby One More Time.”

If you ever wanted to be a rat wrangler in Hollywood, here’s a tale from Universal’s new hit film The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz: In one scene, while Weisz is lying on an altar, she looks down to see a rat on her belly, then rolls over on her left side only to find a female mummy next to her. The scene was rehearsed without the rat, but once the cameras rolled, a real rodent was dropped on Weisz. She screamed, and it jumped on top of the mummy. Director Stephen Sommers was delighted by the critter’s impromptu performance. Says he: “It was hard to get the rat to crawl in the right direction, and here it was, right on the mummy!”

Halle Berry, who split with baseball star David Justice in 1996, may have a new romance. Berry and hunky soul singer Eric Benét were recently spotted holding hands at a store in L.A., where she bought three Game Boys. At the checkout stand, he kissed her on the ear. A few days earlier we had asked Berry about their relationship. “Eric?” Berry had replied coyly. “He’s a really good friend of mine. Sorry, nothing juicier to tell you. I’m a big fan of his music.”

Former Baywatch babe (and occasional cigar smoker) Traci Bingham was having drinks with friends at L.A.’s Skybar recently when George Clooney dropped in. According to the actress, an employee asked Bingham and her party to move to another table so that Clooney could have theirs, explaining that it was his favorite. Bingham claims patrons were also asked to put out cigars and cigarettes because Clooney doesn’t like smoke. “I said, ‘I am not putting out my cigar. It is a public ‘establishment, and I am not moving.’ ” But Bingham’s ire was news to Clooney, who recalls seeing her at the Skybar. “Gosh, I like her,” he said, adding, “I would never ask her to move or to extinguish a cigarette or cigar.” A rep for the Skybar says it wasn’t Clooney who was turned off by the fumes: “Traci Bingham and her guests were asked to move so the customers in that area would not be bothered by the smoke.”