Paula Abdul

Paula Julie Abdul (born June 19, 1962) is an American television personality, jewelry designer, multi-platinum selling singer, and Emmy Award-winning choreographer.

In the 1980s, Abdul rose from being a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team to being a sought-after choreographer at the height of the music video era, then to being a Pop-R&B singer with a string of hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s. According to Abdul, she has sold over 53 million records to date. After her initial period of success, she suffered a series of reverses in her professional and personal life, until she found renewed fame and success in the 2000s as a judge on the highly rated television series American Idol.

Abdul was born in San Fernando, California, to Harry Abdul, who once worked as a livestock trader and owns a sand and gravel business in California, and Lorraine Rykiss, a former concert pianist who once worked as an assistant to film director Billy Wilder. Abdul's father was a Sephardi Syrian Jew who immigrated with his family to Brazil and then to the U.S., while her mother is also Jewish and originally from Saint Boniface, an area of Winnipeg, Canada.

She and her sister, Wendy, who is seven years older, lived with their mother in the San Fernando Valley. As a small child Abdul's interest in a career as a performer was inspired by Gene Kelly in the classic film Singin' in the Rain as well as such entertainers as Debbie Allen, Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse.

Abdul began dance lessons around the age of eight and showed a natural talent for it. She attended Van Nuys High School where she was on the cheerleading squad, and was an honors student. At 15, she received a scholarship to a dance camp near Palm Springs.

Abdul enrolled at California State University at Northridge to study broadcasting. In her freshman year, she tried out for the Los Angeles Lakers' famed Laker Girls squad and was selected from a pool of 700. Within three months she became head choreographer. She quit school six months later.

Abdul's high-energy, street-funk style has delighted fans, including the Jackson family. In 1995, Abdul released a dance workout video entitled Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! (released on DVD in 2003), a fast-paced, hip-hop style workout. Subsequently she released another dance workout video in 1998 called Cardio Dance (released on DVD in 2000). In December 2005, Abdul launched a cheerleading/fitness/dance/dance DVD series called Cardio Cheer, which is marketed to children and teenage girls involved with cheerleading and dance.

In film, Abdul choreographed the dance sequences in the films Coming to America, The Running Man and American Beauty, the giant keyboard sequence involving Tom Hanks’ character in Big, and The King's touchdown celebration, as seen in a string of popular Burger King television commercials that aired during the 2005-2006 NFL season.

In 1987 Abdul used her savings to make a singing demo. Although her voice was relatively untrained, her exceptional dancing proved marketable to the visually oriented, MTV-driven pop music industry.

In 1988, Abdul released her debut album Forever Your Girl. The album took 62 weeks to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart, the longest an album has been on the market before hitting #1 -- it spent 10 weeks there. The album eventually became multi-platinum in the spring and summer of 1989 and it spawned five American Top Three singles, four of them #1s: "Straight Up", "Forever Your Girl", "Cold Hearted", "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me", and "Opposites Attract". Forever Your Girl, Abdul's debut, was the first ever album to have four number-one singles. A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released and reached #7 on Billboard's album chart, becoming one of the most successful remix albums to date. The Grammy award-winning video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. As a sign of Paula's enormous popularity, the cartoon cat scored his own record deal later that year, becoming the first artist signed to Abdul's own Captive Records. Abdul's voice was sampled on one track and she appeared in the video for the first single.

Abdul also went on a Club MTV tour where she performed the songs off her album. Several other acts were also on the tour. Overall the tour helped raise Abdul's popularity even more.

Abdul's follow-up album, 1991's Spellbound, contained another string of hits, and went on to sell 13 million copies. Hits included "Rush, Rush" (which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks, thanks to its music video and Rebel Without a Cause motif featuring Keanu Reeves in the James Dean role), "Promise of a New Day", "Blowing Kisses in the Wind", "Vibeology", and "Will You Marry Me?". The first single, "Rush, Rush", was a ballad, which surprised many, as singers generally release an up-tempo song as a first single. The album Spellbound retained much of the dance-oriented formula heard on her debut album. The track "U" was written for Paula by Prince.

Abdul promoted the album through the "Under My Spell Tour." This tour almost didn't happen because of an accident during rehearsals that was bad enough she almost had to cancel. The tour went as scheduled anyway and ran from October 1991 to the summer of 1992.

Also in 1991, Abdul made a popular Diet Coke commercial in which through technology she danced with her idol, a young Gene Kelly.

It was around this time when Paula's personal life began to cloud her career. In 1993 she helped her sister Wendy overcome an over-eating disorder. Abdul was eventually caught and she herself admitted to the disorder bulimia and checked herself into a clinic to overcome the self-esteem issues triggering her bulimia. Her reputation was also damaged when backing vocalist Yvette Marine claimed she sang on the Forever Your Girl album, not Paula. The case started in August, and lasted one month. Eventually Paula and Virgin records won the case. That same year Paula filed for divorce from Emilio Estevez. The divorce was finalized in 1994, but both remain friends to this day.

By 1995 Paula Abdul had successfully overcome her obstacles and prepared to return to the spotlight with her new album Head Over Heels, received mixed reviews. Many reviewers claimed the album diverted from Abdul's pop music roots, however some reviews said the album was Abdul's most creative and exciting work to date. iTunes review on the album was mixed saying that the "Head Over Heels" has songs which "lack strong hooks" yet praised the album for being "more mature and seductive than previous efforts". The review mainly concentrated on the length of the album and how it "spends too much time on lesser songs". she also resurfaced with a very successful dance video, called Get Up and Dance. Modest radio hits with the singles "My Love Is for Real", "Crazy Cool", and "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" showed that she was still able to create popular music while moving with the times. The first single off the album, "My Love Is for Real", featured a fusion of R&B and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, and was sung together with Yemenite-Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Its accompanying Lawrence of Arabia-inspired music video was played in theaters across the world as a preface to the film Clueless. It was a hit in dance clubs (peaking at #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart) but the single stalled at #28 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, still the single was still able to reach the Top 40, and it was also nominated for several MTV Video Music Awards. The second single, "Crazy Cool", was accompanied by a music video wherein Abdul is seen riding a mechanical bull and spraying Champagne over her breasts, the song became a hit on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart), but only able to crack the Top 40 in the U.S. ."Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" wasn't able to chart in the Hot 100.

To this day Head Over Heels has sold close to 5 million copies worldwide, however Abdul's album sales were slow in the America

Virgin Records, possibly counting on name recognition to move copies, did not put nearly as much muscle behind promoting the album, and Head Over Heels sold considerably less than her previous albums.

Although the album was commercially less successful, some fans considered it to be her best work to date. Some speculate that the album didn't sell well because of the amount of time taken between albums and the change in radio tastes in the mid-90s.

That same year Abdul married Brad Beckerman, heir to a clothing giant.

Paula had ended her music career abruptly due to the failure of her third album and years of physical stress, and injuries. A year later Abdul filed for divorce from Beckerman, citing irreconcible differences. The divorce was finalized in 1998.

In the late 1990s, she attempted to revitalize her career as a performer by accepting acting roles, starting with the 1997 television movie Touched by Evil, which she played a woman who discovers her boyfriend was her rapist. The film was rejected by both fans and critics. She later played Amy Fuentes in the 1998 made-for-TV film, The Waiting Game, which was released only in the UK, and received moderate reaction from viewers. She also appeared in several TV shows including The Wayans Brothers and Spin City as well as the ABC Family made-for-TV movie Romy and Michele: In the Beginning.

Paula Abdul also is famous by writing songs for the hit musical group, The Perrys. She wrote many of the songs for their albums "The Perrys Next Door" and "Perrybound".

In 2000, Abdul’s Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits CD was released by Virgin Records (with whom Abdul was already no longer affiliated). It featured all of the "hit" singles singles as well as other noteworthy tracks. The song "Bend Time Back 'Round" had previously been heard only on the 1993 soundtrack for the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210. The album was not a commercial success, however it managed to sell more than one million copies worldwide.

In 2000, Abdul co-wrote "Spinning Around", a dance-pop track intended to be the lead single off her new album. The album never materialized and "Spinning Around" was given to Kylie Minogue as a single. The song became highly successful and re-launched Minogue's career, as it was intended to do for Abdul, and reached #1 in numerous countries.

A second greatest-hits CD, entitled Greatest Hits: Straight Up!, was released by Virgin on May 8, 2007. The track listing is slightly different but, again, this album was put together by Virgin Records who no longer employs Abdul but nonetheless hopes to cash in on her American Idol success. At this time, they also released the music videos to all her six #1 singles to iTunes. Abdul is reportedly meeting with new record companies, to bounce around ideas for a new album.

In 2002, Abdul appeared as one of three judges for the reality television music competition show American Idol. Abdul, along with fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, were to evaluate the talent of a large group of young amateur singers, eliminate most of them in various audition rounds, and then judge the finalists as American television viewers voted on which finalists would continue to each successive round, until all but the winner were eliminated. Abdul won praise as a sympathetic and compassionate judge. She seemed especially kind when her critiques were compared to fellow judge Simon Cowell, who was often very blunt in his appraisals of the contestants' performances. When she realized that Cowell's over-the-top judging style was heartbreaking for many young contestants, Abdul was so horrified, she considered leaving the show. Although their differences often resulted in extremely heated on-air exchanges and confrontations, Cowell says he played a major role in convincing Abdul not to walk off. Now a bonafide television celebrity, Abdul accepted a second gig as reporter for Entertainment Tonight. She continued to attract attention during subsequent seasons of American Idol. Her knack for finding something positive in almost every performance, her emotion-laden praise for contestants whose style she really likes, and her unique fingers-bent-outwards handclapping style have fueled the belief among some that she is drunk during auditons. This rumor has been the subject of satire, especially by Amy Poehler during Saturday Night Live sketches.

In May 2005, ABC's news magazine Primetime Live reported claims by Season 2 Idol contestant Corey Clark that he and Abdul had an affair during that season, and that she had coached him on how to succeed in the competition. The fact that Clark came forward at a time when he was marketing a CD and trying to get a book deal was seen as suspicious by some, but Clark maintains that his career was being black balled because of his relationship with Abdul and that's why he came forward with the information to clear his name. For the most part, Abdul refused to comment on Clark's allegations. At the height of the debacle, Abdul appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit, making light of the situation. While Fox launched an investigation, Abdul received numerous calls of support from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey; Barbara Walters even addressed the camera during an episode of ABC's The View to say she was ashamed to be part of an operation that would report Clark's flimsy tabloid claims under the guise of a news story.

In August 2005 the Fox network confirmed that she would be returning to the show, as the investigation had found "insufficient evidence that the communications between Mr. Clark and Ms. Abdul in any way aided his performance".

On March 28, 2006 FOX announced that Abdul had signed to stay on American Idol as a judge for at least three more years.

The week of May 14th to 18th, 2007 (the week before the season 6 finale), Abdul broke her nose when she tried to "avoid tripping over her pet chihuahua". She was present at the May 22nd performance and May 23rd finale.

Bravo announced a reality television series following Abdul through her day-to-day life, called Hey Paula. The series is produced by Scott Sternberg Productions and debuted on June 28, 2007.

Abdul's American Idol wardrobe often includes a number of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings that she designs, and she often gives show contestants custom-designed jewelry . In 2007, Paula Abdul Jewelry launched its nationwide consumer debut on QVC, with the tagline "fashion jewelry designed with heart and soul". Paula's first QVC appearance resulted in 15 sellouts of her first jewelry collection involving more than 34,000 pieces. Paula is currently about to release her own perfume entitled "Sexy Thoughts."

* Abdul was married to Emilio Estevez from April 29, 1992 to May 1994. In a June 19, 2005 interview with People magazine Abdul stated that they broke up over the issue of children; she wanted them to have a child together, while Estevez (who already had two children from a prior relationship) did not. She married sportswear designer Brad Beckerman in 1996; they divorced in 1998 citing irreconcilable differences.
* Valentine's Day 2006, Abdul appeared on Dr. Phil as part of a primetime special on love and relationships. She was set up on two dates and Phil McGraw gave her advice.
* In mid July, 2007, Abdul announced that she has begun dating J.T. Torregiani[11], a restaruant owner 12 years her junior. She told Access Hollywood: "He is a good guy. Things are looking upwards. It's looking good right now. I wasn't even looking for someone and that's what usually happens."
* Having recovered from her eating disorder after treatment in 1994, she later became a spokeswoman for NEDA, and was presented with the Profiles In Living Award in late 2005. She continued her work by recording Public Service Announcements in 2006.
* In April 2005, she revealed that she suffers from a rare neurological disorder called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) that causes chronic pain.

Paula is a Zionist and is proud of her Jewish religion. She has said, "Not many people know, but both my parents are Jewish, I am very excited about telling you this." She has said that it was her dream to visit Israel and said, "My father is a Syrian Jew whose family immigrated to Brazil. My mother is Canadian with Jewish roots. My dream is to come to Israel for a real holiday." Abdul supports and loves Israel. Israeli Tourist Minister Isaac Herzog invited her to Israel during a Hanukkah festival, to which Abdul responded with a hug, adding, "I will come; you have helped make a dream come true."

* On December 20, 2004, Abdul was driving her Mercedes on an L.A.-area freeway when she changed lanes and hit another vehicle. The driver and passenger snapped a photograph with a cell phone camera and wrote down the license plate number of the car, which was traced to Abdul. On March 24, 2005, Abdul was fined USD $900 and given 24 months of informal probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor hit-and-run driving in Los Angeles. In addition to the fines she was ordered to pay USD $775 for damage to the other car.

* April 4, 2006, Abdul filed a report at a Hollywood police station claiming she had been a victim of battery at a private party at about 1 a.m. April 2, according to L.A.P.D. spokesman police Lt. Paul Vernon. "According to Abdul, the man at the party argued with her, grabbed her by the arm and threw her against a wall", Vernon said. "She said she had sustained a concussion and spinal injuries."

Substance abuse allegations arose as the result of what some described as "erratic behavior" by Abdul during episodes of American Idol. After reading these allegations on message boards, Abdul told People magazine in April 2005 that she suffered from chronic pain for years following a cheerleading accident at age 17 and was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy in November 2004. Abdul says she is now pain-free following treatment, including the anti-inflammatory medication Enbrel.

Allegations arose again in January 2007 when videos circulated on the Internet of Abdul appearing to sway in her chair and slur her speech during a set of interviews.[18] Abdul's publicist attributed this to fatigue and technical difficulties during the recording of the interviews.

In February 2007, Abdul told Us Weekly that she had never been drunk or used illegal drugs, and called the allegations "lies." In a March 2007 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Abdul joked that her scrutinized behavior was caused by her being "abducted by aliens."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home