Paula Abdul bursts into tears after Elliot Yamin sings and just generally acts crazy

It was another night of non-performance-related drama on American Idol 5. While there were no jokes about drunken judges, there was a random emotional outburst from one of the judges, so draw your own conclusions.

After Elliot Yamin performed, Randy Jackson gave feedback, and then it was Paula’s turn. A close-up shot revealed that her face was glistening: Tears were streaming down her face. Crying, Paula said,

“You move me. You celebrate what this competition is all about. You know, I spent the day yesterday watching the tapes of when everyone first started, and you’ve moved me from the beginning. But you are this handsome, evolved performer that is–you are an American idol, you are. You have a beautiful, beautiful voice.”

Simon laughed as she went on, perhaps at the image of Paula alone in her house watching tapes of the performances and bawling. Randy tried to move things along, saying, Simon Cowell, Simon Cowell, please.” Then he asked, “Why are you laughing, Simon?” Simon, choking out a laugh, replied, “I’m not laughing.”

During his critique of Kellie Pickler, Simon was drowned out by the music; he protested by Ryan said that they had to move on. And from that point on, the judges comments were rushed and brief; to one contestant, Simon gave a brief critique and then said, “Now I’ve finished–off you go, Ryan.”

Later, while Simon tried to critique Taylor, Paula interrupted, stood up, put her hand on Simon’s, and started jabbing her other arm towart Taylor, pointing a finger as she shouted, “We love you! We love you!” And it got even weirder after Chris’ performance; instead of spewing some kind of nonsense like normal, Paula was already standing, and started dancing, sort of, shouting, “Love you, we all love you, love you love you, love, you.”

Clearly, a switch has flipped and she’s short-circuiting. Stay tuned this summer for a very special mini-series, American Idol: The Intervention.

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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.