Copyright ©2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand.

Paula Abdul is one of hottest topics on Twitter today. That's because she posted, and "American Idol" producers have confirmed, that she is not going back to judge her ninth season of "Idol." Commentator Andrew Wallenstein says it's a big mistake all around.

ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Far be it for me to pass judgment on a professional judge, but here's my verdict. I'm amazed Paula Abdul lasted this long. Half the time, she's incoherent or just plain nuts.

(Soundbite of television program, "American Idol")

Ms. PAULA ABDUL (Judge, "American Idol"): That - I - you know, there's something - first of all, one thing that I was kind of - I was kind of surprised you picked that song, but when - well, first of all, you're like this bright light…

WALLENSTEIN: You would think the only possible logical conclusion here is her departure is the best thing that could happen to "Idol." Now, the show's young musical talents can finally have the sober-minded assessments they deserve from Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell. But when has logic ever ruled "American Idol"?

What makes "Idol" "Idol" isn't its integrity as a talent show; it has none. Its true appeal was its ability to prompt mass rubbernecking given the very absence of talent and integrity, and no one delivered train wrecks better than Paula Abdul.

Sure, Cowell had memorable put-downs from time to time, but what really got people talking at the water cooler was Paula Abdul going off the rails, like the time during the 2008 season, when she complimented contestant Jason Castro's second performance, which was odd because he hadn't sung it yet.

(Soundbite of television program, "American Idol")

Mr. RANDY JACKSON (Judge, "American Idol"): No, it was just on the first song, just on the first one.

Ms. ABDUL: I thought you - oh, my God. I thought you sang twice.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JACKSON: Wow, she didn't…

Mr. RYAN SEACREST (Host, "American Idol"): Just once. But Paula, Paula, you're - you're seeing the future, baby. You're seeing the future.

WALLENSTEIN: Paula Abdul's ability to self-destruct isn't "Idol's" biggest liability; it's its biggest asset. Take Simon Cowell, for instance. Will he be as entertaining without her around to mock?

(Soundbite of television program, "American Idol")

Ms. ABDUL: What I'm loving about this season, you're - you have such a great instrument. You're musical…

Mr. SIMON COWELL (Judge, "American Idol"): Did you like it or not?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. ABDUL: And I love - and I love your interpretation of it. And because you're so musical, I love the choice. It's fantastic.

Mr. COWELL: Beat it. Beat it. She likes you.

Ms. ABDUL: I loved it.

(Soundbite of applause)

WALLENSTEIN: This is bad for Fox, but what is the network really risking? In the worst-case scenario, that the show does take a dive without Abdul and they need her again, is she going to go somewhere where they can't win her back? She already tried her own reality show and failed. That's the advantage in negotiating with an unpredictable loon. Just because she's gone doesn't mean she'll have somewhere else to go.

BRAND: That's commentator Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: