Critics, judges make fun of Paula Abdul when she misses a presentation because of an “eye infection”

Paula Abdul was missing in action at a FOX presentation for TV critics yesterday, and the other two judges–and the critics themselves–used the occasion to make fun of her. The Washington Post’s brilliant and witty TV critic Lisa de Moraes has the story, writing, “It’s the most fun we’ve had yet at Winter TV Press Tour 2006.”

A PR flak said that “Paula Abdul has an eye infection. She is on the way to the doctor and hopes to join us tonight.” de Moraes notes that Paula “looked just fine” on both the Tonight Show and Ellen’s show on Monday.

Once the presentation began, de Moraes writes, “Jackson and Cowell began to verbally wink at critics, as if to say ‘This is not our lie; we’re not lifting this lie, we have no investment in this lie — we’re too busy with our own lies.'” When one critic asked about an Idol contestant who sang while his eyes rolled into his head, Randy said, “He had an eye infection as well?” A critic countered, “No, no, he wasn’t accused of anything — he didn’t get an eye infection.”

de Moraes writes that FOX wasn’t very good at ignoring the Paula scandal: “One clip, of an alarmingly Corey Clarkish guy singing ‘You raise me up so I can stand on a mountain’ from Josh Groban’s ‘You Raise Me Up,’ cut to Abdul gushing about how his mediocre performance had blown her away. Did they learn nothing last season?”

Apparently not. One critic even told FOX’s president, “As far as I can tell, the conclusion of the investigation is that since no one actually saw her having sex with anybody, everything is okay.”

Paula Abdul AWOL From ‘Idol’ Panel [Washington Post]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.