Paula Abdul (born 19.6.1962)
Paula Abdul is an American singer, dancer, choreographer and TV talent show judge.
Paula Abdul: Childhood
Paula Abdul was born to Lorraine and Harry Abdul in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles.
Her mother was a concert pianist, who once worked as an assistant to Billy Wilder. Her father owned a sand and gravel business and traded livestock. He was born in Syria and was raised in Brazil before moving to the USA. Both of Paula's parents are Jewish.
As a child, Paula Abdul was taken with the likes of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Debbie Allen and Bob Fosse and started dancing lessons at the age of eight.
Whilst studying at Van Nuys High School, Abdul was a cheerleader and at the age of 15, she earned herself a scholarship to a dance camp in Palm Springs. In 1978, she landed a role in a low-budget musical, Junior High School.
Paula Abdul briefly studied broadcasting at the California State University. However, during her first year there, she was selected to join the cheerleading squad for the Los Angeles Lakers (known as the Laker Girls). She quickly progressed to head choreographer and quit university to focus on dancing and choreography.
Paula Abdul: Dance & Choreography
Early on in her career, Paul Abdul was hand-picked by Jackson 5 to choreograph the video to their single 'Torture' after they had watched her at a Lakers match. The success of the video led to Abdul choreographing the entirety of their Victory tour. She also went on to work with Janet Jackson on her Control album and tour.
In 1995, Paula Abdul released her own dance workout video, named Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! This was re-released in 2003 on DVD. In 1998, she released a second workout video, entitled Cardio Dance. This was also re-released, in 2000. Abdul then released a DVD series in 2005, marketed at young girls. Called Cardio Cheer, the series focused on cheerleading, dance and workout.
Paula Abdul has also worked as a choreographer on a number of successful films, including Big (working for Tom Hanks' character), Coming to America (starring Eddie Murphy), Jerry Maguire (starring Tom Cruise) and American Beauty (starring Kevin Spacey).
Paula Abdul: Music
1988 saw the release of Paula Abdul's debut album of pop music, Forever Your Girl. Although it took 62 weeks, the album eventually reached number one on the US Billboard album charts in the US. The album spawned four number one singles, 'Cold Hearted', 'Straight Up', 'Opposites Attract' and 'Forever Your Girl'. The video for 'Opposites Attract' became particularly resonate, for its feature of an animated cat named MC Skat Kat.
Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound, was released in 1991. The album sold over 13 million copies across the globe. The video for the lead single, 'Rush Rush' featured Keanu Reeves playing a James Dean type character. One track on the album, entitled 'U' was written by Prince, especially for Paula Abdul.
Following a period of her life that she spent battling with the eating disorder bulimia nervosa, Paula Abdul returned to her music career and released another album, Head Over Heels. Following the album's release, Paul Abdul took another break from the music industry. In 2000, Virgin Records released a greatest hits compilation, which sold over one million copies across the globe.
In 1997, Paula Abdul co-wrote a song called 'Spinning Around' with Kara DioGuardi. The song was intended to re-launch Abdul's career but instead, the song was given to Kylie Minogue and revived her career instead.
Paula Abdul: TV
In 2002, Paula Abdul started as one of the judges of the TV talent contest American Idol, alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. Abdul and Cowell often clashed on the show, as she disliked Cowell's blunt approach to dismissing contestants. She has been the subject of a number of comedy sketches, such as Amy Poehler's take on her for Saturday Night Live and Nicole Parker's on MADtv. Paula Abdul also acted as a guest judge in the early rounds of the UK show X Factor, when Leona Lewis auditioned.
Paula Abdul also landed a job as a reporter on Entertainment Tonight.
In July 2009, Paula Abdul announced that she would be leaving X Factor.