For the past 48 hours, I’ve subsisted on a steady diet of Honey Bunches of Oats, Diet Dr. Pepper, and news and speculation about Paula Abdul. And while I’m planning an item about Paula’s five best pop songs for our Music Mix blog later this afternoon, I thought it might be fun for now to look back at some of Paula’s wildest, wackiest moments since returning to the spotlight with American Idol in 2002. Check out my six favorites, then head to the comments section and share your own! (And pick up this week’s issue of EW for more on Paula’s exit.)
Melon-Gate: During the season 5 semifinals, Paula’s advice to Kevin Covais and Jose “Sway” Penala took a turn for the absurd, ending with this memorable bit of free verse (which she credited to Simon Cowell): “The moth who finds the melon finds the cornflake always finds the melon—and one of you didn’t get the right fortune cookie.”
Promo-Gate: What should have been an innocuous promotional tour for American Idol‘s sixth season turned into a full-blown media kerfuffle (yes, I said “kerfuffle”) when Abdul bobbed, weaved, giggled, and slurred her way through a truly bizarre interview with a Seattle Fox affiliate in January 2007. Abdul blamed a combination of exhaustion and earpiece issues for the incident.
Bratz-Gate: In 2007, Paula starred in, executive-produced, and wept her way through the low-rated Bravo celebreality series Hey Paula. One particularly memorable/nightmarish breakdown centered around her behind-the-scenes role on the big-screen production of Bratz.
Castro-Gate: At the midway point of season 7’s Neil Diamond night, Abdul gave a negative critique of two of Jason Castro’s numbers—even though at that point in the telecast he’d only performed once. (Whoops!) The “Straight Up” singer tried to cover her gaffe by saying she’d read her notes for David Cook, but then went on to call the latter singer “fantastic.”
Lip-Sync-Gate: Paula’s much-hyped 2009 performance of “I’m Just Here for the Music” during the season 8 finals was about as organic as a marshmallow Peep. Ultimately, her comeback single registered a mere 64,000 in digital sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Brüno-Gate: This summer’s controversial big-screen comedy finds Sacha Baron Cohen’s titular character inviting Abdul to a nearly empty Hollywood mansion to give her a bogus award. “Highlights” include “Brüno” convincing the befuddled Idol judge that in the absence of furniture, she must sit on the back of a middle-aged Mexican gardener positioned uncomfortably on all fours.
More on ‘Paula Abdul’:
The poetry of Paula Abdul
Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox