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Paula Abdul, along with being a celebrated dancer, choreographer and recording artist in her own right, was one of the OG judges on American Idol when the show premiered all the way back in 2002 on Fox. When American Idol was revived by ABC in early 2018, an all new judges panel was introduced, with pop superstar Katy Perry pulling in $25 million for a season on the show. If you've been wondering whether or not Abdul is feeling some kinda way about Perry's massive payday, well, you now have your answer.
When Paula Abdul appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen recently, they took a call from a viewer who wanted to know if Abdul had seen any of the American Idol revival, and what she thought of Katy Perry making so much coin for judging one season of the popular singing competition. Here's what Abdul had to say:
Paula Abdul: Well, good for her. Good for her. Why not?
Andy Cohen: Well, good for you for not being bitter about it,
Paula Abdul: I take it out on my chihuahuas behind-the-scenes. [laughs]
Andy Cohen: Have you seen the reboot?
Paula Abdul: Yes, I've seen a couple episodes. Both Katy and Lionel are friends. I love them. And I'd like to know Luke.
The move to become a judge on American Idol helped to revitalize Paula Abdul's career, making her a household name once again for being a kind and much more understanding counterpoint to fellow judge Simon Cowell's often brutal appraisals of competitors' performances. It was hard not to appreciate her sympathetic words and compassionate criticism when performers would show up and bring less than their best to an audition. For many contestants (and fans), Abdul's thoughts were more of a guiding hand than Cowell's, simply because they felt understood by her instead of unnecessarily torn down.
While Abdul's time on American Idol led to many more opportunities for her, including some time reporting on Entertainment Tonight, the recording of new music and work on a TV pilot where her life inspired the title character, Abdul ended her stint after Season 8 when she was unable to come to an agreement with producers over a pay raise for her work. So, how much did Paula Abdul get paid for being so kind to contestants? From $1 million to $3.5 million per season. The pay dispute that ended her time on American Idol saw her ask for $5 million to do Season 9, and when producers balked, Abdul quit.
Considering how relatively low Paula Abdul's salary was for American Idol during what was, arguably, the heyday of the show, Andy Cohen is right that she's got a good attitude about Katy Perry making so much for the same job. Hopefully there's just a part of Abdul who's glad that the show has been able to progress to the point where the producers understand the worth of the talent they have on the judging panel, and are willing to pay up to keep them around, especially when Perry and co-hosts Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have careers they have to put on hold for a bit to stick around the judges table.
Not to take anything away from Paula Abdul's positivity, but did anyone really expect her to poop all over Katy Perry's payday on national television? I mean, only someone who is done caring about anything will badmouth their former show and / or a new person who's got their old gig for raking in the dough.
Even though Abdul left the job of her own accord when she felt she wasn't getting her due (and that was many, many years ago), I do wonder if her response would have shown any hint of jealousy or regret had this caller asked the same question, say, after coming upon Paula Abdul in the airport? For me, it would sting a little to know I wasn't worth a measly $5 million, while someone else has been able to make $25 million off the same job. But, I'm willing to accept the idea that, maybe, Paula Abdul is just a better person than me.
Paula Abdul began touring again in late 2016, and started her first Las Vegas residency, Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl, at the Flamingo in August 2019, with shows going through January 2020. For more of what you can see on the small screen right now (which doesn't include any more surprise appearances from Abdul on America's Got Talent), check out our fall 2019 TV premiere guide!