On the Scene of the Paula Abdul Debacle

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After a rushed night of American Idol - during which the contestant each sang two Neil Diamond songs - the performance that stood out the most was that of Paula Abdul.

In mangling her critique of Jason Castro, and actually focusing on a rendition that hadn't taken place on the show yet, Abdul set a new, low standard, even for herself. (Watch the debacle now).

Her Bad!

Anyway, Entertainment Weekly was on the scene last night. On reporter recounted the situation from her eat in the audience:

Ryan invited all the Idol contestants on stage and then had the judges run through their thoughts on the first half of the show. (Stage manager Debbie Williams had to step on stage herself to motion the Idols to come out to the stage, as if, perhaps, this half-way check-in wasn't entirely planned.)... then, with executive producer Nigel Lythgoe and Debbie watching from the wings, it was Paula's turn.

"Oh gosh—we've never had to write these things down, uh, fast enough," she said. "Jason, the first song, I loved hearing your lower register, which we never really hear." So far so good.

"Um, the second song, I felt like your usual charm, it was missing for me. It kind of left me a little empty."

Huh? The audience began tittering with confusion, and Nigel and Debbie both began quietly freaking out... Debbie had to stop herself from stepping on camera to end the madness, and Nigel was frantically gesturing a single finger to anyone who could see him: ONE SONG! THEY'VE ONLY SUNG ONE SONG!

As Simon swooped in for his chance to scold the Idols, Nigel stepped off stage to, I'm assuming, get the on-site EMTs to give him some oxygen.

At the ad break, the judges were all whisked out of the studio, Syesha Mercado, David Cook, David Archuleta and Brooke White left waving to the audience, and Jason Castro was left on a stool, stage center, contemplating what, exactly, had just happened.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


My god the show was scripted...i thought its real...that means they already know who the winner is...i didn't expect anything like this from American Idol...sad to fine out that.


Paula's cards being on the table ready to read from her listening to rehearsal time recordings....well that's just like Sammy Sosa's corked bat. The authentic audition environment is gone, just like Sammy's home run record. I've been talking for years about the connection between Baseball and AI (and blogged about it on the Sporting News & Idolexpose) and it seems like the elimination process and stars in the spotlight of real-life hero-survivors, it make the season just like nine innings of regular play. And now, the umpire is picking up the broken corked bat. I also hear rumours that Paula may not be back next season (but I heard that rumour last year too). I would like to return the show to integrity with an honest inquiry for what is true and right, acknowledging that field is murky, imcomplete, and often debateably unfair.


I began believing that Idol is rigged when very early in the Hollywood week rumors began to spread that Archuletta was the already determined winner of the season. It started to seem very possible when the judges raved about some of his performances that were mediocre at best. Then last night happened... Now I'm sure of it! It's obvious that the show was scripted and Abdul let the cat pout of the bag. Ho-hum...it's still fun to watch though.


Paula has problems, no doubt about that. Jason needs to take his ukalale and take a walk tonight. I'm very tired of him. He's time has come.


Is Idol scripted? I thought it was true reality tv all this time, but now I'm thinking that maybe the winner has already been decided. I don't think I'll be watching anymore. What a waste of my time and effort. I should've known, there is nothing real on tv except maybe the news. And even then it more the reporters opinions and spin on things.


paula makes this show worth watching. and i dont mean that in a bad way, i love her. but i also love the fact that she is quite unpredictable. she makes for great TV.