With X-Factor filling the airways and blogs with recaps and reports, I thought it might be a good time to remind some of the youngsters out there why Paula Abdul is up there on the judges panel. You see, twenty-nine years ago, Paula was a college student at California State University in Northridge. She auditioned to be a cheerleader in Los Angeles. Soon, she was a Laker Girl, and her talents became obvious. She was made lead dancer and choreographer within 6 months.
The Laker Girls; Paula; Paula making Jimmy Kimmel a Laker Girl.
The star-filled audience, coming to see basketball greats Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Kareeen Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy play, also got to watch Paula, up-cole-and-personal. The Jackson family were some, and they were soon whisking her away from the Lakes and college for a career in the music biz, where she danced and choreographed in the height of the music video boom, including on Janet Jacksons Control-era work. Soon, Paula was once again placed front and center with her own single, when Knocked Out, was released in February of 1988. The song went to #41 on the Billboard Hot 100, convincing the label to allow Paula to finish work on her first album. In an effort to make full disclosure, I will admit to having her debut album in my own collection, even to this day.
In June of 1988, Forever Your Girl was released in 1988. The second single was released the month before. (It's Just)The Way That You Love Me did not have great success when initially released. However, the song was rereleased in 1989 following the success of some other singles, and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Paula's next single was released in November of 1988. Straight Up, her third Forever Your Girl. It seems while (It's Just) The Way That You Love Me was languishing on the charts, an LA radio station started playing Straight Up, and the audience loved it. This convinced the label to make it the third single. Smart choice, for the song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks in early 1989.
The next release was the title cut from the album, Forever Your Girl. With able assists from Paula's music video, the song rose up the charts and was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in May of 1989. And following the success of these last two singles, (It's Just) The Way That You Love Me was re-released, and moved up the charts. But first, here is the title cut.
Paul did not stop there, to be sure. Next week, I will take a look at what was still to come for Paula. Want to learn more about Paula Abdul? Check out her official website here. You can also visit the official online home of the U-Factor US here. And be sure to tune in tonight for the X-Factor, at 8PM on your local Fox station.