Paula Abdul's cryptic Tweet: Hinting at an 'American Idol' return?

paula-abdulImage Credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty ImagesPaula Abdul has a penchant for Tweeting famous quotations. In the last week alone, she’s shared with her followers the wisdom of Elbert Hubbard, Evelyn Underhill, J.C. Watts, and Mohandas Gandhi. But did her decision last night to Tweet a Winston Churchill saying – “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” — have anything to do with rampant Internet speculation about who’ll be seated at the American Idol judges’ table when the show returns for its tenth season in January 2011? Or, more specifically, could that Tweet have been a hint that after a one-season absence, Paula herself might be mulling a return to The House That Kelly Clarkson Built?

After all, sources close to the show tell EW that former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is all but certain to sign a deal to return to Fox’s ratings juggernaut in the next few weeks, and what’s more, Lythgoe said in an interview last spring that in the wake of Simon Cowell’s Idol exit, he thought the ideal rebooted panel would consist of Usher, Elton John, and Paula Abdul.

Abdul’s rep did not respond to EW’s request to find out if the Churchill quotation was code for “Tell Seacrest to surrender his styling gel and get my Coke cup ready; I’m coming back to Idol!,” while a Fox spokesperson said the network is “not commenting on any rumors or speculation.” (For the record, Abdul is currently in the casting stage of her new CBS dance-competition program; check out her wacky promo video for the show below.) Still, I’ve got to wonder how all of you would feel about hearing Paula utter the words “you look beautiful tonight” as a kind and gentle way to express “that performance was rubbish.” Tell us by taking our highly scientific PopWatch poll!

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  • waya

    They shouldn’t have dumped her in the first place, and bringing Kara in was a total jump-the-shark decision. Frankly, I’m done with this show. Put it down. The old dawg is gone.

    • Michael

      I disagree slightly. Kara COULD have worked out. The singer-songwriter perspective could have been a good one. Kara just didn’t pull it off.

      I would much rather them bring Paula back than keep Randy(so as to give the panel some “stability”) She’s ditzy and odd but loveable. Randy is just useless.

      • Claire

        She’s ditzy and odd but loveable. Randy is just useless. Exactly. Trust you to find just the right words. Paula’s crazy, we haven’t forgotten that, but her crazy adds to the show. Kara never quite ‘found the pocket’. I wonder if she was being pushed in certain directions or just had a hard time translating her body of knowledge to being on camera? In theory, her perspective should have been a great one. You know how some people are gorgeous in person but don’t photograph well (or vice versa)? I wonder if it was like that for Kara, just got lost in translation.

      • calistoga

        Sorry, Claire, I totally disagree with you. Anyone who knows my nickname knows that I am totally anti-Paula. She is more than ditzy and odd. She’s an original fame-wh***!!! She takes so much away from the contestant’s time, it isn’t funny at all. She kisses up to them behind the scenes so that they will say ‘nice’ things about her. She steps on the other judges time to get more camera time. She uses contestants to try and sell more of her (very ugly) jewelry. She stands, wiggles and waves her arms during the contestant’s number to get more camera time. Her inability to speak and express herself in English is deplorable.
        The public and the contestants need three (3) judges who take the contestants seriously and respect the time and effort they are giving to express their talent!!
        It should not surprise us at all that Abdul started this rumor!

      • chris ford

        You miss it, calistoga. Abdul was interesting, talented, unpredictable, half-crazy, brilliant one week a trainwreck the next, but above all fun and entertaining.
        (sounds like a certain contestant they had)

        But you shouldn’t look back. It’s like movie sequels with the same people – rarely is the 2nd, 3rd, 11th interation as good as the original movie made at a certain time.

      • Cheryl D

        Yes, Chris, I miss it very much! Probably not what you meant to imply, but good to hear from you again anyway.

    • LOL


      • Amy

        I vote for Paula, Randy and Harry Connick!!!!

    • carolyn

      If you go back and review seasons past
      Paula and Randy was always right in the end. Except for a couple of years toward the end Paula was great. After getting straightened out she was exceptional the last season she was on.

  • simon

    I would be much happier with Paula’s return than JLo or Steven Tyler. If it’s those two, I’m done with Idol. The choice of Tyler is particularly perplexing.

    • BlackIrish4094

      I agree fully. I’m an old school Aerosmith fan but this guy says some creepy stuff for a guy in his 60’s (insofar as hitting on young women) and he was struggling with his sobriety in the last year. It wouldn’t make any sense and JLo would add nothing IMO.

      • Stormy

        Agree. a lifelong substance abuser has no business judging impressionable young people.

    • Amy

      JLo wouldn’t be bad, but Steven Tyler would be one of the worst mistakes this show could possibly make.

      • James

        Agreed on both. Dude who looks like a lady is too creepy. J-Lo at least has music and acting history, which gives her some cred.

  • Richard Mulhern

    Get rid of Randy Jackson. The Dogg doesn’t do it for me. I’m just not feeling it Dogg.

  • Ramo

    Oh god no. I really hated Paul’s flighty, inarticulate, overly sensitive presence on the show. Getting rid of her was a move in the right direction. She wasn’t as dreadful as repetitive lump Randy Jackson, who needs to NOT be on the panel next year. But I actually prefer Kara over Paula. I’d love to have a panel of judges who are ALL willing to give insightful, critical and honest advice to these kids without feeling the need to sugarcoat or demean them.

    • Minnie

      Agree. What the panel lost with Paula was chemistry, not insightful advice. Without Simon to play off of, I don’t think Paula’s return would add anything, although I’d take her over some other rumored panelists (ahem…Jessica Simpson). Although there has been speculation that she was a good mentor behind the scenes. If that’s really the case and she can help get better performances out of the contestants, I’m all for it. I just don’t know if that’s true or not…

      • Michael

        Are people tuning in for “insightful” advice? In all the years I’ve been watching this show, I’ve rarely found the advice to be insightful. Even Simon, the most honest of the lot, was often caustic and off-the-mark when he didn’t understand the genre or performance. Simon only understood it when he could analyze the performance from a businessman’s perspective. He knew little about voice quality.

      • Dean

        Well, I am. Unfortunately it’s not typically what we get from the panel, and I find that extremely frustrating. It’s gotten to the the point where when we do get a rare useful nugget from a judge, it’s takes me aback. It’s one reason why Kara, surprisingly, was the MVP of the panel last year. She’s the ONLY one who would occasionally dole out any semi-intelligent thought about what the singer actually did, rather than comment on how they look, how much they like the person, what their chances are of moving on, etc… Is it so much to ask that the judges actually offer real, constructive criticism instead of just filling a “role?”

      • chris ford

        Kara blatantly played favorites and set up others for failure. Her worship ceremonies for Crystal and Big Mike after flubbed (Crystal), godawful music(BM) – were simply embarassing.

        Worse, Kara was ratings poison and most polls taken of actual Idol viewing audience blamed her the most for the bad judging – even with Cowell and Jackson phoning it in and Ellen stolidly clueless.

      • Cheryl D

        I have been a staunch supporter of Kara’s from the standpoint of her creditials. Initially, I felt she was offering solid and beneficial critiques. However, to some degree, I agree with Chris she lost her focus. It was if she decided who her favorites were, and stopped critiquing only that night’s performance. All-in-all, she was still better than her first year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with someone else (with like creditials) taking her place.

      • Cheryl D

        I’m laughing so hard, I can hardly see to type this correction…..
        “credentials” c-r-e-d-e-n-t-i-a-l-s “credentials”

  • LoveDaRocker

    Hate to admit it, but I missed Paula’s wackiness. Was she a good judge? No. But at least she was entertaining (even if unintentionally).

  • Alice

    I stopped watching American Idol after Paula was let go. Her return would be the only reason I’d start watching again.

    • Robbyrob


      Were you in a year long coma??? Paula was NOT, I REPEAT NOT LET GO! Paula and her new management asked for more money and Fox said NO. Paula then preceeded to leave. She was not let go. Sheesh.

  • Janizzle

    Slezak I love you but I think you’re reaching with that tweet of Paula’s…

    At this point I don’t think any judge can save this show. Just get some good talent this year!

    • Ceballos

      What are you talking about?

      I’m eagerly looking forward to Slezak’s (or any other writer’s) next Popwatch item that doesn’t tell us who the next “Idol” judge is or speculates about the judging prospects of any celebrity who says the words “American” or “Idol” this week.

      (Sorry…I think I’m just bitter that Slezak skipped out on his “Next Food Network Star” this week.)

      • Squee

        Also miffed at Slezak for not recapping Next Food Network Star this week.

  • Briana

    Left when Paula left. If she comes back, I’m back. I also want to see the Milwaukee auditions.

    • calistoga

      @Brianna – How did I know you were a Paula fan? lol

  • Carrie #2

    I think EW is reading too much into this one. If she’s known for posting lots of quotes on her Twitter, then I don’t think this was a calculated move. Plus, Paula is adorable but she’s probably not clever enough to post a veiled hint like that.

  • Cheryl

    Once again, AI is loving all this talk and speculation. It’ll be who it will be when they are good and ready to announce. In the meantime, why all of the hand wringing? The less we talk, the sooner that announcement will take place.

    • Michael

      Actually, this talk might be good. Did you see the comments about Nygel? No suit is going to look at those comments and think that he’d be a good judge. All this speculation might help them pick a panel of judges that the public might enjoy.

      • Cheryl

        Dream on!

      • calistoga

        Totally agree with Cheryl. IMO, no show can put together an enjoyable set of judges like AGT has done, and still enjoy (or not) the talent! Most of us tune in to see the contestants, not the judges.

  • sonja

    I like that panel, Usher, Elton John and Pauler. That would be great!

    • swimmer

      I’m sorry I do not want to see Usher on the judges panel and especially after what he said about Idol after he mentored, he just did it to get paid. I lost some respect for him-Mr. Star Search, & responsible for us knowing who Justin Bieber is. And Elton John said he would not judge.

      • Stormy

        Better Kenny Babyface Edmonds than Usher.

  • Erin

    I still believe Simon would have not left had they not added Kara in the first place, he voiced his opinion on a 4 person judges panel and he didn’t like it at all.. then Paula was fired and if you remember that was when he announced he was jumping ship.. the show slowly got ruined with adding Kara and then they finished destroying it when they fired Paula.. I might consider watching it if they bring her back.. but not if J-Lo is in.. J-Lo and Paula.. no way!! and they need to get adult competitors the 15 thing pissed me off, so it all depends if I will watch the 10th season.

    • AI – Artificial Intelligence

      Actually that’s not true. They brought in Kara because Simon told them 2 yrs ago he wouldn’t be renewing his contract and ADVISED them to start trying out new judges. He said that on his Oprah interview. Kara was part of that process. Also, Paula quit when her contract was over. She wasn’t fired. Nigel Lythgoe has actually even tried to get her as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance – going so far as to leaving an empty chair for her on the broadcast to entice her to show up.

    • calistoga

      @Erin – Please pause for a few minutes and think about this:
      Simon would not leave a show based on another judge. He is his own person!
      Paula WAS NOT fired! She demanded more millions thinking she would get it. During negotiations, she made a fool of herself on Letterman’s show.
      Paula definitely had a clue that Simon would be leaving soon because of X-Factor.
      Kara DID NOT ruin AI. People started using her as a scapegoat because they couldn’t accept change.
      Adult competitors like whom? Groban? Streisand? AI is all about providing exposure and developing a young talented singer, giving them the boost they wouldn’t normally get.
      AI will get back to the original premise they started out with, and they will not miss the naysayers!

      • CracklinRosie

        Erin, I agree with you. Simon said on Oprah that he first thought about leaving during the Season 8 auditions, which was when Kara first joined. Then after Paula left, and the trainwreck that was Ellen took her place, you could see that all the fun of being a judge on this show was gone, and I, too, believe, that this is what influenced Simon’s decision to leave and bring X Factor to America. Idol as he knew it was gone, beginning with the unwelcome addition of Kara, and he wanted to jump ship and start his own show where he had full control of every decision.

  • met0910

    Slezak- You seriously need to think about trademarking the phrase “The House That Kelly Clarkson Built”. Either that or use it in every single Idol article you write from now on. Love it!

    • sonja

      I second the motion!!!

    • swimmer

      agreed & so true. :)

    • fullyCOOKed

      Kelly Clarkson may have built it, but David Cook bought it, improved the property, put a fence around it, and locked the doors forever.

      • swimmer

        True and I love David but Kelly also brought it. She made the show what it is today & most of the reason why the show didn’t get canceled after it’s first year .

      • jas886

        And it is now The House that Crysal Boxersox decorated with briliant authenticity and musicality.

      • Stormy

        Yes. And then, Adam lambert came along and completely redecorated it in the best possible way, making it shine as never before. BTW If teens had owned cell phones during season 1, Justin would have won. All this talk about the judges is fine, but Slezak, we need you to get on the bandwagon to change the voting policy so it limits the # of votes from any given number. PLEEEEEEZ?

      • swimmer

        If Justin was the original Idol there would have been no house to build.

      • Stormy

        @Swimmer My point exactly. The voting rules are the biggest problem. Then it needs to be 3 judges, not 4. And last no judges with a history of unsavory and degenerate behavior. Idol is family show and there are too few of those. Can’t we at least try to keep it on the wholesome side?

      • Cheryl D

        Have you folks forgot about Carrie Underwood? Carrie is the biggest female country western singer since Loretta, Tammy, and Reba.

      • chris ford

        The phenomenal luck of having a Kelly Clarkson 1st Season sealed the deal with the public. It wasn’t the then-unknown judges. Kelly was the embodiment and the realization of the show’s entire premise. Then other standouts came. The audience was not tuning in for 8 seconds worth of Cowell saying some clever phrase that 80% of the time came from Idol’s writing team.

        As for Adam Lambert, I really liked him in small doses..but the season he was on ratings dropped sharper than in S9. Ratings were up with other luminaries like Clay, Archie, Carrie, David Cook…so it is hard to present Lambert as the Pinnacle of Idols success.

      • cryan

        DITTO DITTO DITTO with one exception. Cowell did not have AI writers for his comments. Maybe his own, but not AI’s.

  • Kelson

    I don’t want Paula back as a judge. Don’t get me wrong, I like her . . but she just rambled on and on. It was as if she had 1 minute of face time per contestant written into her contract or something. Ultimately, she often said nothing constructive whatsoever, and cause the other judges (who might have had something to say) to get cut off. I could do without Paula.

  • Susan

    Despite all the whining while Paula was on the show her absence last season had a huge impact.As judges I think Randy,Kara and Paula would be a total train wreck.But I think the show needs Paula.So with or without Kara bring Paula back.I think Randy,Paula and Nigel could prove to be the right combination.Or start with new judges altogether.But stuffing it with celebrity won’t work !

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