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'American Idol' Judges


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Simon Philip Cowell (born October 7, 1959 in Brighton, England) is a British A&R (artist and repertoire) executive for BMG Records, but is probably best known as a judge on Pop Idol and American Idol television programs. Cowell is notorious for his uncompromisingly harsh and occasionally controversial criticism of Pop Idol and American Idol contestants. Occasionally he comments on already-established pop icons, most recently opining in Esquire that Beyonce was overrated.

He started out as a mail room clerk for EMI Music Publishing, but gradually worked his way up through the music industry until he became a record producer. In June 2003, Cowell sold his half share in S Records for $42 million to BMG.

Simon Cowell

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Randy Jackson (born February 29, 1956 Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is an American musician and record producer, now most known for being a judge on the television show American Idol.

As a musician Jackson plays the electric bass. He was bass player for the band Journey for a period in the 1980s. He has also recorded, produced, or toured with many well-known artists, ranging from Mariah Carey to NSync to Bruce Springsteen. He has also worked as an executive with Columbia Records and MCA Records.

Jackson has been a judge with American Idol since its inception in 2002. On the show he is known for taking a middle road of criticism between the supportiveness of Paula Abdul and the nastiness of Simon Cowell. He has popularized "pitchy" as the way to describe off-key singing. He is also renowned for his heavy use of slang terms and gestures, most notably the word "dawg". Jackson sometimes wears outrageous outfits and supplies an endless inspirational resource for those looking for eye glasses.

He was married to Elizabeth Jackson until 1990 when he divorced her. Since 1995, he has been married to Erika Riker. In 2003 Jackson had well-publicized gastric bypass surgery and has subsequently lost over a hundred pounds.

Jackson is the cousin of actor Samuel L. Jackson.

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Paula Julie Abdul (born June 19, 1962 in San Fernando, California) is an American dancer, choreographer, singer, and television personality who began her career as the head cheerleader and choreographer for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Her mother is French-Canadian; her father is of Syrian Sephardic Jewish origin.

She started choreographing the live tour for The Jackson Five, and got her big break as the choreographer for the 1980s videos of singer Janet Jackson. In 1988, she released her debut album Forever Your Girl and, after a fairly long time, became a smash hit star. The album spawned five American top five singles (out of just ten songs): '"Forever Your Girl," "Opposites Attract," "Straight Up," "Cold Hearted" and "The Way That You Love Me." A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released. The video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. In a sign of Paula's enormous popularity, even MC Skat Kat went on to record his own solo album later that year.

Her follow up album, Spellbound, is often overlooked in musical history. Abdul made such an impact in late 1980s music that when her second effort was released in the early 1990s, everyone assumed it would be less successful. Instead, it introduced the American top ten hits "Rush, Rush," "Vibeology," "Promise of a New Day," "Will U Marry Me" and "Blowing Kisses in the Wind". The single "Rush, Rush" surprised many fans and critics at the time of its release, not only for its lush, stripped down production values and beautiful lyrics, but also because it was a "ballad". Prior to the release of "Rush, Rush", many critics had labelled Paula Abdul as a dance artist with limited vocal range who relied solely on choreography and visually appealing music clips. The album Spellbound, though it retained much of the dance oriented formula heard on her debut album, songs from the album such as "Rush, Rush", "Will U Marry Me", "Blowing Kisses in the Wind", and "Alright Tonight" showcased her growing versatility as an artist and vocalist. Even more interesting is the funk laden track "U", which was penned by Prince.

As Abdul's image shifted slowly from "beautiful" to "sexy", gossip began to circulate about her weight. At only 5 ft 2 in (157 cm), Abdul did not have the height commonly associated with dancers/choreographers. In her music video for "Promise of a New Day," camera angles were used to pinch the screen image, and tabloids claimed this was because of Abdul's weight. Then, in an appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards, Abdul did a live performance of "Vibeology" wearing a sequined boustier/swimsuit outfit that revealed she had, indeed, put on weight. This seemed to have a dramatic impact on her popularity.

Abdul took a break from the business, and resurfaced in 1993 with an exercise video. In 1995 Abdul participated in an ABC television interview with Diane Sawyer where she discussed her weight problem and her personal battles with bulimia.

In 1995 Abdul released her fourth album, Head Over Heels. With modest radio hits with the singles "My Love is For Real", "Crazy Cool" and "Ain't Never Gunna Give You Up", she showed that she was able to still create popular music while moving with the times. The first single off the album, "My Love is For Real", is perhaps one of the most unique songs in her music catalogue. Its fusion of R&B and traditional Middle Eastern instruments with its accompanying Lawrence of Arabia-inspired music video had all the trappings of a marketable hit single. However, the single stalled at the American top 30 charts. In the follow up to the single "My Love is For Real", her image became much more sexual, and she was seen scantily clad in her music video "Crazy Cool", riding a mechanical bull and pouring beer over her t-shirt/breasts. The album did not sell even remotely as well as previous efforts, and it seemed due in great part to her new image. Furthermore, many fans believe the 4 year hiatus between the release of the album Spellbound and Head Over Heels may have cooled off her core record buying public, and this may have affected the overall success of Head Over Heels.

Despite this, the album Head Over Heels remains her lengthiest album in terms of the number of tracks out of all her albums. The album also spawned three b-sides: "Didn't I say I Love You" (B-side to "My Love is For Real" Single), "Crazy Love", and "High School Crush". The latter two featured on the Japanese Import Album of "Head Over Heels", and is a highly prized and now rare collectible item amongst Paula Abdul fans.

Abdul had never had a real career as an actress, barring an appearance as "Sherri" in a low-budget musical movie from 1981 called Junior High School. In an attempt to revitalize her career as a performer, she began accepting acting roles, starting with the television movie Touched by Evil in 1997. In a genre that is hardly well respected to begin with, her performance (as a rape victim who discovers her boyfriend was her rapist) was massively rejected by both fans and critics. (In particular, fans were disgusted to see their favorite sweetheart-singer discuss performing fellatio on a character only to eject the semen into a film canister as proof of his rape crimes.) Another T.V. movie was made in 1998, The Waiting Game, which was neither panned or praised.

In the year 2000 a greatest hits CD, very originally titled Greatest Hits, was released. The CD featured an array hit singles from all three of her previous albums, as well as other noteworthy tracks. The inclusion of the song on the Greatest Hits cd "Bend Time Back Round" was only previously found on the 1993 soundtrack to the hit television series "Beverly Hills 90210".

In 2002 Abdul was offered the job of judge on the television contest show American Idol. On this show, her job was to judge the talent of a group of young amateur singers and eventually whittle a group down to just one performer (the "idol" in question). Abdul, who had seemingly emerged from obscurity, won back the hearts of America as the sympathetic and compassionate judge (paired next to co-judge Simon Cowell, who was often cruelly blunt in his appraisal of the contestants' performances). She began to resurface at awards shows, and was even given the job of co-anchor on the television magazine program Entertainment Tonight.

On March 24, 2005, she was fined and sentenced to two years of probation for a hit and run incident in Encino, California. Abdul claims she did not notice the brief contact between her Mercedes and another vehicle while she was changing lanes.

She was briefly married to the actor Emilio Estevez.

Various facts

Has choreographed music videos for The Jackson Five, Janet Jackson, Debbie Gibson, ZZ Top, George Michael and Dolly Parton, and choreographed and appeared in Toto's 1986 music video for "Till The End".

Has choreographed the stage shows for Suzanne Somers and Toni Basil

Choreographed the dance sequences in the films Coming to America, and American Beauty as well as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s touchdown celebration in Jerry Maguire.

Former spouse of actor Emilio Estevez (1992

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I am a huge fan of Paula. I have quite a bit of dance experience myself. She is also an outstanding tap dancer and one of my idols in that form of dance. I can't remember which video she did that started with that awesome tap riff, (Straight Up, maybe?,) but I had to be around 15 at that time (dating myself!) and all of her music inspired me at the studio.

It's so hard for me to read all of the criticism about Paula on these boards. I try to ignore it. She is another woman I admire, she's just very positive person probably from the hardships she has suffered. I'm not trying to defend her so this can turn into some debate against me, I'm simply trying to personify a person who seems to get written off by a lot of people as some kind of ditz. In some cases, it might be good to hear something nice before Simon pummels your ass to the ground. Even if it is true~! (...although I agree with Simon most of the time)

I must say, Paula shouldn't sugar-coat so much. And, everyone must admit, there have been times when she has been really nice about saying the performance didn't stack up.

Thanks salter-path for the opportunity to vent. It just came out. My name is Tabs and I am a Paula fan. It' s been 4 seconds since I last typed her name. :wink:

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Guest ranster627

I saw some biography programs on Simon, and he is fascinating ... I confess to being a fan! Aside from my liking his "role" on the show, I really like his creativity and enterpreneurship!

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  • 11 months later...

From Digital Spy: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds31553.html

Cowell: I prefer Sharon to Paula

Thursday, April 13 2006, 09:45 BST - by Miriam Zendle

Simon Cowell says he prefers working with Sharon Osbourne to Paula Abdul, and would like to have her on American Idol.

The X Factor judge says Osbourne is "easier" to work with than Abdul, saying his ideal American Idol judge's panel would have Randy Jackson and Osbourne on board.

He clarified: "Sharon's easier. Sharon and Randy would be the easiest. Or we could be on one show. That would be good."

Sharon Osbourne is one of the three judges on the UK's The X Factor - and quite frankly often outshines Simon!

The X Factor effectively replaced Pop Idol (the UK version of American Idol) in the UK and sees the judges competing against each other, with each judge managing acts in one of three categories - 16-24s, 25 and overs and Groups.

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if its not broken why fix it.

sharon too old for my liking

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Nooo don't replace Paula!! Then we won't be able to laugh at her slurred speech and wacky drugged up and/or drunk antics!!

Nothing like trying to figure out exactly wth she's trying to say!

Seriously though.. they should replace her with someone who's gonna actually give some honest CONSTRUCTIVE critism. That's what these judges totally lack is constructive comments and that's really what some of these contestants need.

I don't know about Sharon Osbourne. I used to catch her talk show sometimes when it was still on and she just ACTS too nice nice and a bit on the "taken too many drugs when she was younger so now she's a bit looney" side.

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Right now, I'm ready for ANYONE to replace Paula. She's become such a huge distraction from the show as far as I'm concerned. Every week I say she needs cue cards to help her with her comments. While she's slurring her words, rolling her eyes, and struggling to come up with a coherent sentence, my stomach knots up. I could handle Sharon Osbourne.

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There may be trouble brewing . . . did you guys notice Ryan making all those 'what's in the cup Paula','are you drunk Paula' references a couple of weeks ago? :o It seemed like he was trying to stir the pot. And then last week Paula was on The Tonight Show and she was dissing Ryan big-time, saying there was nothing to those rumors of Ryan dating Teri Hatcher becase Teri wasn't that desperate a housewife, and that Ryan's only kissing himelf in the mirror these days.

Simon's always been loyal to Paula, but apparently he's better friends with Ryan so maybe he's getting fed up with her if she's getting drunk/high before the show (?)

I don't know . . .

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  • 2 weeks later...


'Idol' Judges Reup for More Seasons

by Michael Schneider and Chris Gardner


Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell

will all be in the final round on 'American Idol'

"American Idol" judge Randy Jackson has extended his deal with the smash TV show, where he'll remain for at least the next three seasons. His multimillion-dollar pact means all three of the show's judges (as well as host Ryan Seacrest) are locked up for several years to come.

Perky judge Paula Abdul inked a three-year deal in March, while Simon 'Legree' Cowell and Fox worked out a megapact in November that keeps him on the show for at least five more seasons.

Jackson's talents "as a musician, A&R executive and referee make him invaluable to the show," said Fox Entertainment president Peter Liguori. Jackson has worked with artists such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Elton John and Destiny's Child.

A producer, bassist and executive, Jackson has been with the show since its 2002 launch. He spent time in the rock group, Journey and eight years as vice president of A&R at Columbia Records, as well as four years as senior vice president of A&R at MCA Records.

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  • 9 months later...

There was a rumor going around that made the newspapers that Courtney Love, of ALL people, was going to replace Paula. Apparently someone crank-called Courtney, pretending to be Nigel Lythgow, and asked her to replace one of the judges. Courtney kinda knew it was a fake though. She said the call was "weirdly brilliant" and that "they'd never even let me on that show".

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