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Losing Paula Abdul Is An Epic Idol Mistake

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It’s always interesting to watch the people who run billion dollar enterprises completely trip all over themselves by making insanely boneheaded decisions. American Idol, the express train that supposedly can’t be stopped, just made a huge one.

Paula Abdul never once said anything particularly relevant on American Idol. She often appeared drunk or at best on pain killers. She once critiqued a song by Jason Castro that he hadn’t sung yet, and she quite possibly had an off-air romance with a really creepy contestant named Corey Clark, but you know what? She was completely essential to that show.

On its face, the producers will try their best to make Abdul look greedy for not being happy to receive two million dollars a year to sit around and smile vapidly, but to someone who watches these things closely, it’s readily apparent that “Straight Up,” Paula was pushed out by a crew that found her to be an embarrassment rather than a guilty pleasure.

Last year’s stunningly uncomfortable introduction of fourth judge (obvious future Paula substitute) Kara DioGuardi told everyone with a brain that Paula’s ouster was plainly written on the wall. It’s a huge mistake. DioGuardi is barely likable, and despite her more solid industry credentials she provided next to nothing to the show last year.

Sure, Kara can sing and Paula can’t, but it’s Paula who has all the hit records, and it’s Paula that America really loves. We won’t have Paula to kick around any more, and that’s a damn shame. In hard economic times, not many people will have much sympathy for someone, who was unhappy with making two million a year to sit around and be vapid, but those people don’t understand that the world is relative, especially one where Satan negotiated a fifteen million dollar a year deal for his worthless, preening spawn, Ryan Seacrest.

The cognoscenti will tell you that Simon Cowell is the lone essential cog in the American Idol machine, and to an extent it’s true. Cowell is without a doubt the show’s MVP, but even MVPs need an appropriate supporting cast.

I debated in high school. I was loud, abrasive, and cut-throat. On the face of things, my partner could appear vapid, overly cheerful, and airheaded. Opponents would marvel at the fact that her twelve minutes of speaking time often had very little to do with the real issues of the debates. Together we won the state championship, and she was essential to our success. She blunted my attack and made it and me palatable. As a team, we were likable and ruthlessly effective. Without her, I was just another obnoxious kid acting like he knew everything in the world at 17.

Thus it is with Cowell. He and Abdul had intense chemistry. The sheer joy of watching Paula blather on incoherently was watching Cowell sit next to her dumbfound, eyes rolling with fire into the back of his head, dying to let loose on his flightier comrade.

Paula never met an American Idol contestant that she didn’t appear to want to mother. Her idea of a vicious piece of criticism was usually, “You look stunning tonight,” but mark my words — without her, Simon Cowell will stop appearing to be the voice of reason and come off unnecessarily mean. They were a great team. Paula fostered the dreamer within us all and Cowell let us know whose dreams were achievable and whose were mere delusion. Paula Abdul was essential to the chemistry of that show and she will be hugely missed.

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About keithcrime

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/heloise Heloise

    Will we ever know what really happened here? Just heard on the radio that Paula simply said thanks but no thanks to a new contract. I mean does she have a hot record in the oven or a movie deal or a book deal? I don’t think so. Maybe she wants to sit at home with the fewer millions who will NOT be watching idol, including myself.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Rather premature assessment. plus, all Paula was good for was babbling incoherently and the Internet has shown you can get people to do that for free.

    “Will we ever know what really happened here?”

    What’s not to know? They made an offer. She wasn’t happy with it. The end.

  • PaulaFan

    I agree with this article. IDOL will lose millions of viewers without Abdul and I am one of those. The producers appear to me to be sexist paying the guys huge sums and the women peanuts in comparison.

  • Goog

    Brad’s right on the money. The producers really just don’t know exactly why their show is so popular. Ryan Seacrest is the most replacable element on that show, yet they ponied up a giant raise to keep him. It’s going to be a tough(er) show to watch without Paula. I have 3 words for Kara Dioguardi: You’re no Paula Abdul.

  • Brad Laidman

    I have 3 words for Kara Dioguardi: You’re no Paula Abdul.

    A brilliant inside joke: well done

  • http://spacehotel.com/ DW

    Yep, I agree. But if she wanted an unrealistic amount of money, it’s a shame.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I usually stop watching after they get through the really bad auditions, which for my money are the most entertaining part of the show. This year, Adam Mercury kept me watching after that though. The Paula element is negligible…but she was kinda funny to watch when she appeared to have been drinking. Guess it’s back to wrestling for me.

    -Glen

  • Prince Harming

    You’re absolutely right, the show has great chemistry which is hard to reinvent: Randy is the reasonable one, Simon is the relentless one, and Paula is the heart. Kara DioGuardi is insightful but basically she is a Simon echo chamber and that is kinda redundant. But then again Paula would make a great addition to So You Think You Can Dance, their judge panel is entirely too technical.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I think only Teller (Penn & Teller) has a better gig than Paula did. I know, Teller is damn talented but he doesn’t have to say one freakin word especially on Penn & Teller: Bullshit

    Honestly, now that I think about it… I’ll stick to watching Bullshit. Idol was never any good to begin with.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Firozali A. Mulla

    It’s always interesting to watch the people who run billion dollar enterprises completely trip all over themselves by making insanely boneheaded decisions. American Idol, the express train that supposedly can’t be stopped, just made a huge one.
    What I hate about the USA or Canadians is they take everything as joke when it falls on THAT MAN, forgetting that cash is commodity that rotates and comes back or goes away from us or far from us. We are Darwin
    I thank you
    Firozali A Mulla

  • Debbie

    You are so right about Paula and Simon, and the fact that they are now on X Factor proves it. I am so glad to see her again, I really missed her.

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