Paula Abdul dubs Simon Cowell an 'STD' in American Idol return: 'Super, talented, debonair'
Paula Adbul certainly knows how to give out nicknames.
The former American Idol judge returned to the singing competition tonight, subbing in for Luke Bryan, who tested positive for COVID-19. She was reunited with Ryan Seacrest, who's hosted the show since its inception.
Partway through the episode, Seacrest surprised Abdul with a video call from her former costar Randy Jackson, who was watching from home. For nine seasons of the series, the two presided over the panelists' table together, along with Simon Cowell.
"Miss Paula Abdul, it feels like old times, right?" Jackson said.
"Yes, it does, we're just missing the STD," Abdul responded, ostensibly referencing Cowell.
When a confused Seacrest asked what she meant, Abdul joked that "STD" stood for "super, talented... debonair."
"I think Paula's doing an amazing job, next to the amazing Katy, the amazing Lionel!" Jackson said.
"I love you!" Paula said, blowing a kiss to Jackson, before turning to Perry and admitting, "I can't believe I said that."
A lot of viewers seemed to get a kick out of the moment and Abdul's return in general.
"Paula Abdul just called Simon Cowell an STD on live television and my serotonin reached 2005 levels for a very short period of time," one fan wrote.
"'WHAT DID YOUR MOTHERS BREAST-FEED YOU?!' is exactly the kind of @PaulaAbdul feedback I needed on #AmericanIdol tonight," writer and EW alum Michael Slezak tweeted in reference to another one of her colorful comments on the show.
Last July, Abdul told People that if she ever returned as a judge on Idol, she'd want to be teamed back up with the originals hosts, including Cowell. She also said she still keeps in touch with the original judges.
"It was magical. It was as if we had never left," Abdul told People at the time. "The chemistry is undeniable, that's what's made it always special. You can't manufacture that. Right when the cameras were rolling, it was about telling the funniest stories, nothing but laughs and smiles."
Tonight, American Idol aired its first live episode of the season and a Top 12 was declared. It was also revealed that contestant Wyatt Pike had to drop out of the competition due to undisclosed personal reasons
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Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.