Paula Abdul: Blackballed?!

No Ugly Betty gig, no Dancing With the Stars slot—is the fix in on American Idol's ex-judge?

By Joal Ryan Aug 21, 2009 3:42 AMTags
Paula AbdulMichael Becker / FOX

When Paula Abdul didn't land on Dancing With the Stars, we were fine. When she didn't land on Ugly Betty, we were fine. When So You Think You Can Dance's Mary Murphy landed a pretty good jab, we were sure Paula was fine. 

But when we heard her manager say, "You're going to be seeing a lot of Paula," we lost it.

In Hollywood, "you're going to be seeing a lot of Paula" means "Yeah, at the supermarket, where she'll be drowning her sorrow at the Entenmann's display."

At this stage of Abdul's post-American Idol job hunt, there is but one irrational conclusion for highly suspicious minds to draw: The fix is in!

If you tell us Abdul's in between gigs—still!—because she chose not to renew her American Idol contract, new jobs are hard to come by in this economy and David Caruso had to learn the hard way, too, then we're going to have to ask you to stop quoting the facts.

The (alleged) truth is this: 

American Idol is a very powerful show—a very powerful show that does not like to be embarrassed (see Taylor Hicks).

Very powerful shows that do not like being embarrassed have ways of making people disappear (see Taylor Hicks).

Hollywood, in general, has a long history of making people disappear, especially people who are commited to causes as much as their art. Remember the guy who played the gardener on Desperate Housewives? Totally blacklisted from the Mondrian!

Remember Michael Keaton? Aha! You don't, do you? Could that be because Keaton passed on the chance to don the cape and cowl for a third Batman movie, leaving his studio in a Val Kilmer lurch? (And if you tell us that Keaton starred in plenty of post-Batman movies, none of which anybody much wanted to see, thereby ending his run as a box-office draw, then we're going to have to insist that you cut it out. And then demand to know if you yammered like this through JFK, too.)

Put all this sketchy evidence together, and who among us will be surprised when Abdul's next move is to sprint into the witness protection program?!

Then again…

Sue Henderson, who has worked with actors and models as a career consultant for 26 more years than we have, isn't buying our conspiracy theory for a second.

"I really can't believe that just because they turn down a role that that qualifies them for blackballing," Henderson tells us.

This is not to say that Henderson doesn't believe stars—say, ones who eat too much sushi, beg out of a David Mamet play, and are named Jeremy Piven—can't burn bridges. ("I don't think he'll be back on Broadway," she says of Piven.)

Since Abdul doesn't fall into the bridge-burning category—Mamet, after all, has never accused her of being a thermometer—we suppose there's a chance we're overreacting.

Maybe "I think you're going to be seeing a lot of Paula" actually means we're going to be seeing a lot of Paula.

Wait a second...Did her manager say he thinks…?