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June 19, 2021

20 Vintage Portraits of Paula Abdul in the 1980s

Called a “gushing pocket rocket” by MTV, Paula Abdul is the high-energy singer and dancer who restarted her career with eight seasons as a judge on the television talent show American Idol.

Paula Abdul (born June 19, 1962) grew up in southern California and became a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 1980s. She earned a reputation as a choreographer, which led to a job as an assistant dance director for The Jacksons, which in turn led to a job choreographing videos for Janet Jackson’s album Control.

In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Abdul worked in choreography for television and film and had a string of hit pop songs of her own. Her debut album, 1988’s Forever Your Girl, produced four top hits, including the sassy, bouncy “Straight Up.” Her second record, Spellbound, also did well, but her third, Head Over Heels (1995) was less successful.


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