Saying Goodbye to Paula Abdul, The Best and Worst Thing to Happen to ‘American Idol’

By this point, you are probably well aware that Paula Abdul — a swan-like pop presence most noted for her breathy lute-like singing and once dubbed the voice of the Oxycontin generation — has completed an extensive recovery program in which she was required to sit on a panel and gracefully dispense sage advice to aspiring poputards. And now that society is convinced that she will never again volley clumsy come-ons to make-believe felines, they have deemed her fit to join the general population again. Even after the previous failure of a similar attempt not too long ago. Which only means one thing for the googolplex of Americans who will continue to sit through an Abdul-less American Idol: utter disaster!

At the end of the day, none of the bobbleheads on Idol really contribute anything of substance, frequently following this template with their feedback to contestants:

Randy Jackson: YO, MAN. YOU DA DAWG. YOU’RE IN THE DOG POUND. YOU’RE EATIN’ KIBBLES ‘N BITS. YOU’RE EATIN’ PURINA ONE NATURAL BLEND. DAWG, I HOPE YOU GOT ALL YOUR SHOTS, ‘CUZ THAT SONG WAS SICK. Paula Abdul: Find fitness with fun dancing. It is fun and makes you forget about the dreaded exercise. Simon Cowell: That was a cabaret performance.

And while Abdul’s advice was always notably lacking in grounding, clear elocution, coherency, and words from the English language, she was the glue that held Idol together. She was like your kooky aunt you looked forward to visiting like nine times a week, the one who would hold your hand as you told her about the art teacher and who’d inappropriately try to cop a feel. While Idol‘s regiment, Jackson’s barking, and Cowell’s snark became dated, crusty, and redundant, Abdul kept us on the edge of our seat with her twitches, her occasional yelps, her perforated psyche. We’d be scarfing bags of Combos wondering just how Paula Abdul was going to eff-up next. Not quite realizing that as we gazed into that window to Oprah Winfrey Land and saw Abdul flailing, we were seeing a reflection of ourselves. The victor, the performances, Barry Manilow, those were just garish sideshows from what essentially became Abdul’s own small-screen re-creation of La Vie en Rose over the years.

But then they wedged in Kara DioGuardi. And we all felt a little betrayed. Like that time Left-Eye died and the T and C of TLC tried to replace her. Because her claim to fame was probably just a little bit more well-founded than Abdul’s. I mean she has written hit/flop songs for all of these artists, which most impressively includes Raven-Symoné.

But in witnessing Stockholm Syndrome wreak havoc among the insipid trio, people with eyeballs and television sets were growing restless, as the only prominent lady on Idol probably shouldn’t be a fumbling, stumbling thesis in drug abuse. Especially when the Britons get lady judges in the form of Ozzy Osbourne’s wife and Kylie Minogue’s sister, and later, one-fifth of, what else! a British girlband.

So, while we’ll cry and then chase our sorrow with a 7 and 7, we’ll probably eventually get over Idol‘s decision to part ways with Abdul and chalk it up to a rusty TV titan that’s eking out some long-lost credibility by bidding farewell someone whose pop idol fame was always sketchy at best.

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