Friday, October 29, 2010
NEWS: Paula Abdul Talks 'Dancing' and 'Idol'
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- Paula Abdul spent eight seasons searching for the next "American Idol." Now she's looking for folks who "Live to Dance."
The former "Idol" sweetheart is executive producing and leading the expert panel on CBS' new all-ages dance competition, which premieres Jan. 4 and is poised to cha-cha-cha alongside Fox's "Idol" on some nights.
Abdul will be joined by Michael Jackson's "This Is It" choreographer Travis Payne and former Pussycat Dolls member Kimberly Wyatt, who also served as a judge on the show's British predecessor, "Got to Dance." Abdul promised this incarnation will be much less cutthroat, though 18 final acts will ultimately shake it for a $500,000 grand prize.
In a recent interview during a break from the show's West Coast open auditions, the bubbly, often-rambling 48-year-old former Laker girl discussed whether she'll be tuning into the upcoming 10th season of "Ido," and compared "Live to Dance" to all those other reality TV dance competitions.
AP: What kind of dancers have you seen so far in the audition process?
Abdul: We've had amazing 5-, 6- and 7-year-old dancers all the way up to beautiful dancers in their 60s, 70s and even 80s that still live in that passionate, unique place where dance inspires them. If you get to do that life, your life is so much richer.
AP: Why did you decide to do another reality TV talent competition?
Abdul: I felt strongly that when I left "American Idol," I really needed to take time to rediscover where my passion lies. ... For me, if I didn't check off one of the boxes on my bucket list that I was involved in a dance show, I don't know if that would sit really well with me.
AP: How do you feel that "Live to Dance" will likely go up against "American Idol" when it premieres next year?
Abdul: My whole life has been about ironies and metaphors and things like that. I'm excited about it. I do feel they're two completely separate shows. The irony of it is my experience — one family to a new family. For me, I celebrate having shows that are a platform for raw, untapped talent. In my mind, there can never be too many of those shows.
AP: Will you be watching the new season of "Idol" with new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez?
Abdul: I absolutely will. DVR. I watched the last season objectively as a fan. Look, I was part of that family for nine years of my life. With Jennifer and Steven coming in, they're seasoned veterans. Randy's at the helm, and Ryan's still there. ... I hope they're experiencing great talent and having a good time.
AP: You were known as the nice, sometimes zany judge on "Idol." What kind of judge will you be on this show?
Abdul: Well, I'm not a judge at all. In fact, coming onto this show, I said, "We need to get rid of the judging aspect. I need to lead a panel of experts." ... It's not so much about judging the acts as it is about, "How are we going to help these acts as leading experts, either with their next audition or if they move forward in this competition?"
AP: How else will "Live to Dance" be different from other reality TV dancing competitions?
Abdul: People keep saying, "I'm sure you're getting some crazy acts auditioning!" Crazy and kooky can exist in this show only if it's backed up by the chops of amazing techniques and skills. I'm all for being left of center and being different but not for the sake of just trying to get on television.