American Idol‘s contract negotiations continue to be carried out in public. Last week, Paula Abdul’s manager noted that Idol’s judge/dancer/singer/free-verse poet has not been made a contract renewal offer yet. This kind of public talk is usually a negotiation strategy; Abdul herself has said as much in interviews. But this didn’t stop Twitter users from mounting a save-Paula tweeting campaign over the weekend; nor has it stopped the sort of press coverage that will inevitably strengthen her hand in dealing. This very post may well be worth more for Abdul than I earn in a year.
Now, granted, I have no inside knowledge of the dealings. It’s possible, I suppose, that Idol’s producers may actually be looking to get rid of her. But if that’s true, they’re loopier than she appears on an average performance-night Tuesday.
Yes, Abdul has had plenty of tabloid-ready embarrassments and has been fodder for speculation as to the cause of her less-than-coherent judges’ remarks. But it puzzles me when people talk about this as if it’s a bad thing for Idol. Conceivably Abdul could do something, someday, so embarrassing that Idol has to sever ties with her, but until then, love her or hate her, she’s as much a part of the show’s entertainment as the off=key warblers in the auditions rounds.
If I had to rank the judges in order of importance for Idol to retain, I’d put it: Simon-Paula-Randy-Kara. Do you disagree, America? Your comments—after the break!