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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Paula Abdul: Crafty or crazy? (We're leaning toward crazy.)

America just got a whole lot less crazy.

Ending weeks of speculation by industry-watchers (and weeks of fervent praying by us), Paula Abdul announced last night via Twitter that she wouldn't be returning for the ninth season of ratings behemoth "American Idol."

She gave no real reason for leaving in her tweet, saying only "With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return," and, without a trace of humility, "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day 1 become an international phenomenon."

By departing, Abdul is giving up a reported 30% bump in salary. Almost immediately after her announcement, however, rumors began popping up that the whole thing was only a negotiating ploy to wedge the "Idol" coffers open even wider. Adding credence to that possibility is the fact that the show starts filming a new round of auditions Friday, and Paula's absence would put pressure on Fox to shell out some more coin.

Spritely Ryan Seacrest seems to be putting all that gossip to bed, though, telling his radio show listeners that it's no publicity stunt. "As far as I know, it's real," the tiny, tiny, really tiny "Idol" host said. "At this point, she'd decided to leave."

So one big question is, what possible reason could she have for bailing on the money cruise? "Idol's" ratings may have slipped a little last season, but it's still the top show in the country. As far as we know, her recording career is pretty much DOA, unless MC Skat Kat is making some kind of comeback we haven't heard about.

But an even bigger question is, are they going to replace her? Sure, with her gone the judging panel returns to a more manageable threesome, what with that boring tartlet Kara DioGuardi signing a new contract earlier this week. But even though we thought watching Abdul on that show was comparable to that scene in "A Clockwork Orange" except we didn't need any apparatus holding our eyes open, she has lots of fans who apparently don't mind being hosed down with loony sauce.

That means the biggest question is, who could replace her? Who's crazy enough? Well, we're glad you asked.

1. Dr. Orly Taitz. Leader of the so-called "birthers" movement and currently the craziest woman in the world. Her judgments of "Idol" hopefuls would rest on whether or not they can prove they were born in this country. Bonus: Just like Paula, you can barely understand a word she says.

2. Mary Murphy. One of the judges on Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," she's basically just like Paula, if Paula were missing that part of her brain that controls volume. Likes to go on and on with her comments, which would hopefully lead to Simon Cowell finally snapping on air and strangling her.

3. Sarah Palin. Former governor of Alaska, conservative sexpot. Has tons of time on her hands, and has all that related experience of babbling incoherently on live television. Also, like Paula, she quits things at questionable times.

-- Adam Reinhard,, Malavika Jagannathan,



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