Paula Abdul and the producers of American Idol were mostly evasive about the show and recent controversies when they appeared before TV critics yesterday. Specifically, they didn’t reveal much about the apparent tension involving Paula Abdul, which we learned about from Paula Abdul herself a few weeks ago.
At an earlier session, Fox president Kevin Reilly told reporters, “Paula’s an integral part of the show. As far as we’re concerned, we want to have her as long as the show goes. When we get into those discussions, we’ll see where Paula’s head is at. I wouldn’t see any more into it than that.”
Asked about her criticism of the show, Paula called it “a loaded question” and then went on a tangent about how Kara DioGuardi is a sleepwalker (later she asked Kara if she remembered how, at Mardi Gras, “a guy grabbed a body part and stole your purse”). Paula Abdul then told reporters, “I was not quoted as saying anything disparaging about American at all. If people listen to the transcript that Barbara Walters did, you would hear that I did not say anything disparaging at all.”
For the record, in that interview, when she accused Simon Cowell of “defamation,” Paula told Barbara Walters that producers “let [Paula’s stalker] in anyways” and “never took into consideration what that meant,” and said she’s still with the show only because “I’m under contract.”
The St. Petersburg Times’ Eric Deggans challenged her, and Paula said, “Well, that is true. But that’s that. I can’t talk about it anymore. It’s an ongoing police investigation.” Um, what?
Executive producer Ken Warwick admitted they let fans of the judges in, and said he’s concerned for their safety. “Very often I’ve been told there’s a fan of somebody outside, and, generally speaking, fans are people that we will let in,” he said. “It’s quite good for us. We have really stringent security because I’m kind of more worried that someone’s going to try and hurt one of the judges during the actual confrontations.”
A few moments later, executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz–who apparently preferred all of the softball questions during the press conference about Paula and Kara’s fun times as roommates, and contestants’ hair and makeup–said, “You know what? I don’t think we should spend a lot more time talking about Paula. What’s happened is really, really sad. … But from being a big fan to what happened, there’s a big difference. And nobody could have known that it would actually happen. We are terribly sorry for her and her family. I don’t think it’s fair to keep on talking about it.”
Yeah, asking questions of the producers of the most-popular show in the country is totally unfair. Our bad!