Paula may appear this weekend on ''SNL.'' The scandal-beleaguered Abdul is expected to appear in a sketch on this weekend's Johnny Knoxville-hosted episode

By Gary Susman
Updated May 06, 2005 at 12:00 PM EDT
Paula Abdul: Luis Martinez/AP

It’s a time-honored way for celebrities to defuse their scandals: make fun of themselves on Saturday Night Live. According to TV’s The Insider, that’s what Paula Abdul is planning to do this weekend. Talking to the Associated Press, an SNL spokesman acknowledged the planned Abdul walk-on but said it was not yet a done deal. Watch for the American Idol judge to follow the examples set by Winona Ryder, Paris Hilton, and Janet Jackson by appearing on a sketch during the May 7 episode, which is being hosted by fellow reality star Johnny Knoxville. (Musical guest is System of a Down.)

Even as Fox says it’s pursuing an investigation into 2003 Idol finalist Corey Clark’s claim that Abdul coached him and had an affair with him during his months on the show, Idol producers and former contestants have rallied behind Abdul. Clay Aiken, who came in second that year, told CBS’ Early Show on Thursday that, even if Clark is telling the truth (which Aiken doubts), Abdul should keep her job because she’s ”just an amazing asset to the show. I believe the show wouldn’t be the same without her.” Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, talking on Thursday to Idol host Ryan Seacrest on the latter’s morning radio show on Los Angeles’ KIIS-FM, said that the episode of ABC’s Primetime Live where Clark aired his allegations was ”shoddy journalism,” and that the hour-long report contained little of substance. ”The whole show was stretched out worse than one of our elimination shows,” Lythgoe joked. ”It was probably four or five minutes of content.”

Late Friday afternoon, Abdul issued a statement suggesting that the fans remain on her side. ”Firstly, let me express my deepest appreciation to the thousands of people throughout the world who have written, e-mailed, and called to express their support for me. Words cannot express how grateful I am and will always be,” she said. ”All my life, I have been taught to take the high road, and never to dignify salacious or false accusations. And I have been taught never, never to lie. Not only do I never lie, I never respond to lies, no matter how vicious, no matter how hurtful. I do trust my fans who can see through attempts at character assassination, and I do trust the essential fairness of the American public.”