The 80s

Profile of Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul’s album 'Forever Your Girl' cover

Paula Abdul was an internationally acclaimed choreographer,songwriter, singer, and TV personality who rose to fame in the early 80s. In 2002, Paula Abdul once again captured the limelight. This time, though, her fame wasn’t due to introducing a new dance craze or releasing a new chart-topping hit, but as a reputable judge of the famous ‘American Idol’ singing competition.

Born on June 19, 1962, to a Jewish parent, Paula startedworking to fulfill her dreams- to become a famous dancer and singer. Paula spent her childhood in San Fernando Valley, California. At the age of eight, Paula started taking dance lessons. It was her exceptional talent in dancing that led her to the Van Nuys High School’s cheerleading squad. Paula was also elected as the senior high president of the same school, so we can say that success was a part of her life form an early stage.

When she was in college, Paula qualified to become an L.A. Lakers’ cheerleading squad member. As she was an exceptional dancer, Paula eventually became the head of the said cheerleader squad. Unfortunately, it became too difficult for Paula to study in college and lead a cheerleading team at the same time. In order to make room for pursing her passion, Paula decided to drop her studies.

Paula’s sacrifice might not seem to be the most practical one, but it turned out to work in her favor. Her focus on one area caused her to become very popular while leading the Lakers’ cheerleading squad.

In 1984, Paula’s’ long-awaited big break came- ‘The Jacksons’ hired her to choreograph the music video for their single ‘Torture.’ That was the start of Paula’s rise in the professional entertainment industry. Other celebrities that Paula worked with include Debbie Gibson, George Michael, ZZ Top, Dolly Parton, and Janet Jackson. After showcasing her talent in dancing, Paula’s next target was the music industry.

In 1988, Paula released her debut album entitled ‘Forever Your Girl’ under Virgin Records. This album made Paula an instant singing superstar after five singles of the album, including ‘Forever Your Girl,’ ‘Straight Up,’ Opposites Attract,’ ‘The Way That you Love Me,’ and ‘Cool Hearted’ topped the Billboard’s chart. Paula’s debut album sold seven million copies in the U.S. alone.

Paula released her second album, the ‘Spellbound,’ in 1991. Spellbound surpassed Paula’s debut album after it produced a total of ten Billboard hit singles. Of these ten, it was the song called ‘Rush, Rush’ that dominated the hit charts. ‘Rush, Rush,’ topped the Billboard Hot 100 and U.S. Adult Contemporary charts. The song also ranked number 20 in the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

While she was at the height of her career, Paula decided to take a break. According to sources, Paula had to take a hiatus to resolve personal problems. Later on, Paula revealed that she had to leave for a while for two reasons: first, she needed time to seek medical attention for her illness (Bulimia); second, she had filed a divorce against her first husband, Emilio Estevez.

In 1995, Paula was backed into the music scene. Her third album‘Head Over Heels’ was released on June 13, 1995, still under Virgin Records.  A bit surprisingly, Paula’s third release did not become a hit. According to her, the cause of poor sales was due to the lack of promotion.

Paula then decided to part ways with her long-time record label,Virgin Records, in 1997. In the same year, she signed a contract with a new recording company, Mercury Records. Under a new record label, Paula was all set to release her fourth album. Unfortunately, this was canceled.

Paula Abdul

During her stint as one of the ‘American Idol’ judges, Paula became famous for being sympathetic to the contestants.

In 2002, Paula was chosen to be one of the judges of the ‘American Idol’ show.  Other judges of this famous singing competition were producer Randy Jackson and British record executive, Simon Cowell.  While the judges have changed several times since then, the days of these three American Idol judges are still fondly remembered by fans of the show. This was due to the chemistry between the three, which made the show fun and interesting for several seasons. The judges’ panel has seen many talented and interesting artists but the magic was never quite recaptured (at least, that’s what diehard fans of ‘American Idol’ say).

In many ways, Paula’s appearance on ‘American Idol’ restored her career. She won praises from the audience, who saw her as a compassionate judge. Paula served as a judge for the show until 2009. Aside from ‘American Idol,’ Paula also appeared on the TV magazine show ‘Entertainment Tonight’ as a co-anchor. She also appeared on the X Factor as a guest judge.

The compassionate and sympathetic nature of Paula on American Idol earned her both love and criticism. Some would say that she preferred being kind to being honest. She even considered leaving the series after a few years after learning how heartbroken some of the contestants were after the harshness of Simon Cowell’s criticisms. While she had several on-air disagreements with Cowell, he was also instrumental in convincing her to stay on the show.

Meanwhile, Paula finally released her comeback album entitled ‘Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow,’ in 2008. Paula sang the album’s carrier single (Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow) with her ‘American Idol’ co-judge, Randy Jackson playing the bass guitar. The song became Paula’s new hit single after almost 12 years. The song peaked at number 11 on iTunes, but only managed a modest 62nd position on Billboard Hot 100.

Paula’s 30-year career in showbiz was living proof that successonly belongs to determined and resilient individuals. She could have immediately stopped when people no longer wanted to hear her songs, but she did not! Instead of quitting, Paula worked harder. And this attitude made Paula a ‘real’ superstar!

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