Abdul got her start in the 1980s as a cheerleader/choreographer for the NBA Los Angeles Lakers, before eventually finding success as a pop star in the latter half of that decade. From the late '80s into the early '90s, Abdul enjoyed a string of hits including "Straight Up," "Forever Your Girl," and "Opposites Attract." In addition to racking up the Billboard hits, Abdul's expertly choreographed videos made her a fixture on MTV.
During her eight seasons seated next to the caustic Simon Cowell and the more neutral Randy Jackson on Idol, Paula Abdul was quick to earn a reputation as "the nice one." She rarely criticized the contestants — even when they deserved it — and played a role as the kinder, gentler judge.
In 2009, Paula Abdul left American Idol over what is largely believed to be a contract dispute. She has since reportedly been in discussions with other networks and with such shows as ABC's Dancing With The Stars. Abdul also reportedly plans to return to music with a new album.
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