By now you've seen the headlines and read the countless reports about "American Idol" continuing next season without the resident nice lady Paula Abdul. Heck, you probably even Tweeted about it. ("KEEP PAULA" was one of the hottest Twitter trends over the weekend. Suck it, Cronkite!)
But before "Idol" fans have a collective "Bratz!"-sized meltdown about their favorite show returning without their favorite loony aunt, there is something important I need to say: Paula Abdul is not leaving "American Idol." At least, I don't think so.
In my opinion, Paula and her management team are merely playing hardball with "Idol" producers. We all know that Ryan Seacrest just got signed to a bajillion dollar deal. (Actually, it was $15 million per year. Same difference.) Why shouldn't Paula step up her negotiations in a big way? Everyone else is making bank — why not her?
Furthermore, Simon Cowell is employing similar tactics. His contract hasn't been signed yet, and he's issued statements in the past about quitting one of the three shows he's involved with, perhaps even "Idol." So why isn't Twitter exploding with "SAVE SIMON" trends? Probably because the show hired Kara DioGuardi last season as an odd duck fourth judge, a move several worrywarts pointed to as a way to replace Paula. I say poppycock!
The "My Show Isn't Treating Me With Respect, I'm Totally Gonna Leave" tactic has been used in the past to various degrees of success. This AP story reminds us of Suzanne Somers, Tom Wopat, John Schneider, "CSI" cast members and Katherine Heigl, all of whom made very-public ploys for more moolah. (It's probably important to note that things did not end well for most of them: Suzanne Somers was written off "Three's Company" and Katherine Heigl was given brain cancer by the "Grey's Anatomy" writing staff (not literally, of course). Whoops!) There's a fine line between "fighting for what you deserve" and "being greedy" in the public's eyes, so Paula should keep reminding herself that if it weren't for "American Idol," she'd be making Lifetime movies and selling crap on HSN. Oh wait...
So unless Abdul's asking for an outrageous fortune for her and her adorable Chihuahuas (shout-out to Bessie Moo), "Idol" is going to sign her the first chance they get. They're probably just delaying their talks a week or two to give Paula a slice of humble pie. (A source told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday that the powers that be are a little tired of Paula's diva behavior. I say to them, "Have you ever danced with an animated cat? I didn't think so.")
So trust me: Paula isn't going anywhere. (Neither is Simon, for that matter). "Idol" knows that without Paula they'll lose a sizable audience. (You think pop culture bloggers are going to tune in if they don't have Paula's "You're pretty! Here's a coloring book!" antics to keep them entertained? HA!) And when she wasn't flashing her bikini bod, most viewers were lukewarm on Kara's performance in her debut season.
So before you can say "There are magical colors in your voice," Paula Abdul will be locked down at the judges table for a long while. Whether she'll be able to physically stay in her chair without wandering away during a taping is another story entirely