What's Paula Abdul's next move?
Paula Abdul is reality TV's biggest question mark
It has been one of the biggest questions in the reality TV business since she abruptly quit (via Twitter) her eight-season perch on "American Idol" in May 2009.
Speculation has swirled about her joining everything from Shine/Reveille's upcoming CBS competition "Got to Dance" to Fox's hit "So You Think You Can Dance" to -- perhaps most tantalizing -- her one-time sparring partner on the U.S. version of "The X Factor," slated for fall 2011 on Fox.
Abdul recently signed with UTA and is said to be actively plotting her next move. But will viewers embrace a post-"Idol" Paula?
She was the sweetheart of the show, a conduit for viewers' emotions about the contestants, and "Idol" ratings have slipped without her. But Abdul's second foray into reality TV, the day-in-the-life docusoap "Hey Paula," was a virtual non-starter for Bravo in 2007.
"She does better in a position like on 'Idol' where she doesn't have to carry the show, but rather can be carried by the people around her," says Jonathan Murray, chairman of Bunim-Murray Prods. Murray believes Abdul's choice of material for her next venture will be key to her longevity.
Some argue that she should avoid talent shows altogether. Andy Dehnart, editor of the Reality Blurred fan site, says Abdul's notoriously erratic behavior during "Idol" broadcasts has made her an on-camera liability.
"A lot people got tired of her," he says. "For her next gig, she really needs to reinvent herself. If she's a judge again, say on 'X Factor,' it'll be same thing we've already seen."
Either way, Abdul will likely bring her zany authenticity to whatever project she chooses.
"It's a unique gift for a talent to be able to connect with an audience the way Paula does," says Lenid Rolov, an exec producer on "Hey Paula." "What I discovered is that she is unfailingly herself, for better or worse."