Paula Abdul

TV Personality / Singer / Choreographer

Born: 19 June 1962
Birthplace: San Fernando, California
Best known as: Original American Idol judge and singer of "Straight Up"
Called a "gushing pocket rocket" by MTV, Paula Abdul is the high-energy singer and dancer who restarted her career with eight seasons as a judge on the television talent show American Idol. Abdul grew up in southern California and became a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 1980s. She earned a reputation as a choreographer, which led to a job as an assistant dance director for The Jacksons, which in turn led to a job choreographing videos for Janet Jackson's album Control. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Abdul worked in choreography for television and film and had a string of hit pop songs of her own. Her debut album, 1988's Forever Your Girl, produced four top hits, including the sassy, bouncy "Straight Up." Her second record, Spellbound, also did well, but her third, Head Over Heels (1995) was less successful and Abdul's personal life was topsy-turvy. She divorced her husband (actor Emilio Estevez), recovered from an eating disorder and successfully fought off a lawsuit by a backup singer who claimed to be the main singer of several tracks on Forever Your Girl. By the late '90s Abdul was back to focusing on choreography, having abandoned her recording career. In 2002 she became a judge on American Idol, where she was known for her emotional and ditzy outbursts and arguments with fellow judge Simon Cowell. Abdul announced in August of 2009 that she was leaving the show and wouldn't return for the ninth season.
Extra credit: Abdul won Emmys for choreography for The Tracey Ullman Show (1989) and The American Music Awards (1990)... Abdul is of Syrian-Brazilian and French-Canadian ancestry... Abdul broke her nose in May of 2007 after she tripped while trying to avoid her pet Chihuahua, Tulip... Abdul's mother once worked as an assistant to filmmaker Billy Wilder... Paula Abdul was married to Emilio Estevez from 1992 to 1994.

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