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Paula Abdul


Paula Abdul at 2009 American Idol Finale

Paula Abdul at 2009 American Idol Finale

Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Paula Abdul's Early Life:

Paula Abdul was born June 19, 1962 and grew up in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. Her father was a Syrian Jew raised in Brazil and her mother is of Canadian Jewish descent. Paula Abdul began taking dance lessons at the age of eight. While a freshman in college she auditioned to be a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team.

L.A. Lakers Cheerleader:

Paula Abdul was selected out of a pool of approximately 700 to become one of the famed Laker Girls, cheerleaders for the Los Angeles Lakers. Due to her past dance experience, she soon became head choreographer for the cheerleading troupe. The next phase in Paula Abdul's career came when she was noticed by the Jacksons and invited to develop choreography for the video accompanying the group's single "Torture."

Paula Abdul's Success as a Choreographer:

Paula Abdul's success as choreographer of the "Torture" video led to her being hired as assistant dance director for the Jackson's triumphant Victory concert tour in 1984. One of her next projects was providing choreography for Janet Jackson's music videos accompanying her breakthrough album Control. The dances provided by Paula Abdul helped propel Janet Jackson to stardom, and she became a much in demand choreographer for music videos. She also worked on TV's Tracy Ullman Show. In 1987 Paula Abdul began pursuing another of her dreams and cut a singing demo that led to a recording contract.

'Forever Your Girl':

Paula Abdul's voice was not particularly strong, but her riveting dancing created a powerful visual presence that was perfect for the era of the music video. The album Forever Your Girl was released in June 1988. The album's success came slowly. The first two singles were top 10 R&B hits but failed to make a strong impact on the pop charts. Then a third single "Straight Up" began ascending the charts. The striking music video featured popular TV talk show host Arsenio Hall. The song ended up the first of a string of four #1 pop hits from the album and Forever Your Girl hit #1 itself after 62 weeks on the album chart.

Paula Abdul's Top Pop Hits:

  • 1988 - "Straight Up" - #1
  • 1989 - "Forever Your Girl" - #1
  • 1989 - "Cold Hearted" - #1
  • 1989 - "(It's Just) The Way You Love Me" - #3
  • 1989 - "Opposites Attract" with Wild Pair - #1
  • 1991 - "Rush Rush" - #1
  • 1991 - "The Promise of a New Day" - #1
  • 1992 - "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" - #16


Paula Abdul's second album Spellbound was released in May 1991. It was her second consecutive #1 album. Two singles, "Rush Rush" and "The Promise of a New Day," reached #1 on the pop singles chart. The well-received video for "Rush Rush" co-starred rising movie actor Keanu Reeves in an homage to the classic Rebel Without a Cause. When the fourth single "Vibeology" stalled in the top 20 of the singles chart, it broke Paula Abdul's string of eight consecutive top 10 singles.

Paula Abdul's Fall From Popularity:

Following Spellbound Paula Abdul retreated from the spotlight. She returned for her third album Head Over Heels in 1995. It was received with mixed reviews and, although touted as a major comeback, it only reached #18 on the album chart and quickly faded. The first single "My Love Is For Real" only reached #28 on the pop singles chart and later singles failed to make the top 40. Following the album's relative failure Paula Abdul took another hiatus from the music industry.

'American Idol' Judge:

In 1997 Paula Abdul was a co-writer with Kara DioGuardi of the song "Spinning Around." It was originally intended to be part of another comeback album for Paula Abdul, but when that failed to materialize, the song was given to Kylie Minogue to record. It was widely credited to have revitalized Minogue's career in 2000.

In 2002 Paula Abdul appeared on national television as one of three judges for the reality talent competition American Idol. She soon found herself back in the public spotlight beginning the carer for which she is now best known.

Paula Abdul's Pop Recording Career Resumes and She Leaves American Idol:

Paula Abdul's trademark as an American Idol judge was her unfailing efforts to deliver positive comments even when a contestant's performance has been lackluster. In the summer of 2009 her role as American Idol judge appeared to be in jeopardy due to a breakdown in contract negotiations. On August 4, 2009 Fox Television announced she would be leaving the show.

While serving as American Idol judge, Paula Abdul also decided to renew her recording career. In 2008 she released the single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" with fellow judge Randy Jackson. "I'm Just Here for the Music" followed in 2009 with a video as well.

Paula Abdul On 'X Factor':

After leaving American Idol, Paula Abdul continued to make appearances on television. She hosted the 2009 VH1 Divas Live. In early 2011 Paula Abdul hosted the CBS dancing competition show Live To Dance. However, it was cancelled after just seven shows.

When it was announced that Simon Cowell would be bringing his UK hit talent show X Factor to the US, speculation began almost immediately about whether it would be an occasion for Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul to be reunited as judges. The official announcement came in May 2011 that Paula Abdul would be an X Factor judge when the show kicks off in the September 2011.

  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Top 40/Pop
  4. Pop Music TV Shows
  5. American Idol
  6. Profiles of American Idol Judges
  7. Paula Abdul Biography - Profile of Paula Abdul, American Idol Judge

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