Monday, August 30, 2004

Adoring Abdul

Paula Abdul's prowess as a singer can't be characterized as superior, but her ditties are funky and friendly. In an interview, she proudly said that she wanted to "sing songs that other people can sing." Undoubtedly, for someone who admitted having difficulty with that one high note in Rush Rush, she doesn’t have much of an impressive range. My best friend and I used to joke that she’d be thanking Macintosh computers if she ever won a vocals award.

But Abdul is still, to me, was one of the best dance divas of the late 80s and early 90s. When I caught her very first video The Way That You Love Me back in my late teenage years, I was immediately enthralled by her fancy footwork. Sadly, that single didn’t make great waves then, barely breaking the top 30 of Billboard. (It was later re-released, peaking at #4.)

Across three studio albums, the former Laker girl racked up seven number one hits on Billboard: Straight Up, Forever Your Girl, Cold Hearted, Opposites Attract, Rush Rush, Promise of a New Day, and My Love Is For Real. Most of her other singles peaked at the Top Ten, collectively proving that she could hold her own against Madonna, Whitney, Janet, and other pop divas at the time. When she stopped by Manila as part of her Spellbound world tour, the Folk Arts Theater was packed to the rafters. That concert is still the most captivating and visually-stunning I’ve ever seen here.

After a bunch of much-loved hit songs (despite the failed marriage with Emilio Estevez, a history of bulimia and a so-so acting performance in a so-so made-for-television thriller) Abdul emerged from career limbo as a judge in American Idol. While her ability to judge vocal performances may be questionable, she’s still as sweet-looking as ever, the diminutive rose between Randy and Simon. I would love to see her perform again.
It’s odd, though. I have yet to find a videoke joint that has her songs in their database.

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