Not exactly what you'd call a soul or disco diva, former Laker Girl Paula Abdul has nevertheless enjoyed some impressive commercial triumphs. As a teen, she was the major choreographer and a member of the Los Angeles Lakers' cheerleaders. She moved from that role to choreographing videos for Janet Jackson's Control album and The Tracey Ullman Show. Abdul switched to recording in 1988, with the LP Forever Your Girl. It sold more than seven million copies, topped the pop charts for ten weeks, and yielded number one singles in the title track, "Straight Up," "Cold Hearted," and "Opposites Attract." Though ripped by some critics for lacking vocal range, distinction, or edge, Abdul followed that album in 1991 with Spellbound, which also topped the charts for two weeks, and sold over three million copies. Her third album, Head Over Heels, was released in 1995.
Although not active on the recording side since that album, Abdul remained in the entertainment limelight. She scored some small acting parts in a few films in the mid-'90s (most notably Touched by Evil in 1996) and was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992 to 1994. But perhaps Abdul's biggest claim to fame yet has been her role as judge on the enormously popular American Idol reality series, starring alongside the acerbic Brit Simon Cowell and music-industry vet Randy Jackson on the show that draws millions of viewers each week. In mid-2007, Abdul could be seen in a reality series on Bravo called Hey Paula which followed her as she went about her daily activities. When her run ended with American Idol, Abdul continued to thrive in the reality industry, with the competetive dance series Live to Dance in 2011.