By Kate Ward
January 04, 2011 at 11:40 PM EST

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSThis is it, folks. Get ready to say “Hey, Paula!” tonight, when we’ll see former American Idol judge Paula Abdul return to television for her new dance competition series, Live to Dance, which premieres at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. I’m so excited right now, I could squish David Archuleta, squeeze his head off, and dangle him from my rear-view mirror. And that’s not just because, as EW’s resident So You Think You Can Dance recapper, I’m already a fan of the art. Nope, it’s because Abdul is heading back to exactly where she belongs: on reality television. Mama’s coming home, PopWatchers!

Honestly, at this point, it’s difficult to tell whether Live to Dance will live to see multiple seasons, particularly when you consider how it will soon be stacked up against ratings behemoth, and former Abdul home, American Idol. But if Randy Jackson could pull off a successful dance competition show, America’s Best Dance Crew, surely trained dancer and choreographer Abdul can attract at least some of the reality-attracted masses — at least the ones who enjoyed watching her warble, cry, and be generally nonsensical (translation: bring great television) to Idol.

But what can we expect from Abdul this time around? Will her daffiness extend beyond the Idol stage? Will she help people forget her somewhat embarrassing stints on non-Idol TV gigs like Hey, Paula and VH1: Divas? Can she develop watchable chemistry with fellow judge Travis Payne the way she did with Simon Cowell?

My predictions: Yes, yes, and no. If her appearance on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly this morning is any indication, Abdul remains as wobbly as usual, and is prepared to bring her memorable brand of poetry to Dance tonight. But since she’s trained in — and arguably more respected for — dance, it’s easier for audiences to identify and agree with her critiques, setting her up as a valued expert of the art, rather than a valued expert of seal-clapping. But then there’s the Simon X factor: Part of the reason Abdul’s loony nature was acceptable on Idol was because the man on her left balanced things out, creating a perfect cocktail that was equal parts craziness and cockiness — and one that’s difficult to replicate.

Either way, do you plan to watch tonight, PopWatchers? Are you glad to see Abdul return to reality TV? And a free, imaginary piece of obtuse Abdul jewelry goes to the commenter who prints the best Abdul quote from tonight’s Live to Dance below!

Read more:

Paula Abdul’s ‘Live to Dance’ premiere set; will compete with ‘American Idol’

Paula Abdul discusses her new show, the ‘American Idol’ judges, and whether she’ll reunite with Simon on ‘The X-Factor’

Paula Abdul’s ‘Live to Dance’ reveals panel and host