Most people today know Paula Abdul as the 40-something, soft-hearted, often-weepy judge that sat next to Simon Cowell on American Idol (shifting regularly between punching him out and almost making out with him)—then sitting next to him on The X-Factor, only to get canned after the show’s first season in the U.S.
But before all that drama, Paula Abdul was a pop star—more specifically, a dancer–turned-pop-star. Prior to releasing her 1989 hit “Straight Up,” she had been a Laker girl, where The Jacksons discovered her—then she moved into choreography for videos and film. The video below, however, is where Abdul first became a household name.
Interestingly enough, Abdul’s rise to stardom was anything but meteoric. Her debut album Forever Your Girl (where “Straight Up” first appeared) was actually released the year before this video started getting airplay, taking a whopping 64 weeks to climb to Number 1 on the charts. Once it got there, the record stayed at Number 1 for 10 weeks and went multi-platinum.
A lot of people see Paula Abdul as sort of a caricature these days–and I’ll be the first to admit the song below isn’t extremely well-crafted or sung as far as hits go–but take a look at the tap dancing intro in this video, and you’ll remember how talented Abdul actually is as a dancer.