After a 12-year absence from the charts, American Idol judge Paula Abdul is back. Her new single I’m Just Here for the Music debuted at No. 80 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. Paula Abdul had premiered I’m Just Here for the Music on American Idol May 6, the same night that Chris Daughtry and his band unveiled No Surprise. Paula Abdul’s single currently sits at No. 87.
According to Billboard, twenty years ago this week, Paula Abdul had scored her second No. 1. hit with Forever Your Girl. Twenty years later, the American Idol judge is the only artist from that chart who appears this week.
I’m Just Here for the Music is a remake of a song that appeared on Kylie Minogue’s album Body Language. Paula Abdul’s version is peppy, complete with a pop beat and her trademark choreography. At 46, Paula Abdul is fit and dances as well as guys half her age (though she loses a few points for lip-synching on May 6).
Paula Abdul Back on the Charts: Life and Career
Whether you love or hate her, American Idol’s Paula Abdul has led a full life, evolving from LA Lakers cheerleader, to famed choreographer, to R&B singer, to American Idol judge.
Paula Julie Abdul was born in 1962 to a Syrian Jewish father and a Canadian Jewish mother. As a freshman at California State University, Northridge, she became an LA Lakers cheerleader, later becoming head choreographer. Her career as a choreographer took off in the 1980s after being discovered by the Jackson 5. Paula Abdul won two Emmy Awards in 1989 and 1990 for her choreography on The Tracy Ullman Show and the 17th American Music Awards.
Although more trained as a dancer than as a singer, Paula Abdul released a series of number one hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Straight Up, Forever Your Girl, Cold Hearted, Opposites Attract, Rush Rush, and The Promise of a New Day. Her music video Opposites Attract won a Grammy Award.
Paula Abdul has overcome a variety of personal struggles including failed marriages to Emilio Estevez and Brad Beckerman, eating disorders, and a rare neurological disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
While known as the “nice” judge on American Idol, Paula Abdul has had her share of controversy including a hit and run in 2004, an alleged affair with Corey Clark, allegations of substance abuse, and a high profile suicide by stalker fan Paula Goodspeed.
Paula Abdul Back on the Charts: Career Renaissance?
While some American Idol fans criticize Paula Abdul for appearing drunk and incoherent on the show, I’ve always enjoyed her dynamic with Simon Cowell and appreciate her presence on the panel as a balance to Simon and Randy. She bring a wealth of life experience, both on and off stage. Similar to Madonna, she finds ways to continually evolve and to try new avenues of success.
While many has-been celebrities are unable to capture their former glory, some are able to withstand the test of time. After reaching her peak in the 1960s with Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’s appearance in 2001’s The Princess Diaries was the beginning of a career revival with Disney.
Hopefully Paula Abdul’s presence on the Billboard Hot 100 with I’m Just Here for the Music could represent a new beginning for her career.
“Idol” Judge Paula Abdul back on singles chart, Gary Trust, Billboard, Reuters