An open letter to Paula Abdul:
Oh, Paula my dear, Paula. We’ve had quite the relationship over the years. When Straight Up first came on the radio, it was love at first listen. I, a mere mortal young’un and oh so impressionable, spent my waking non-school hours singing your songs and memorizing the choreography from your video with MC Skat Kat. I attended your Spellbound tour, binoculars in hand, hand at my heart, musical timing out the window (for me, not you). In my head, I danced just like you. You were my role model and probably the majority of the reason why I started teaching aerobics eight years ago. (The wannabe pop music star in me started early but didn’t find a home until later in life when I came to grips with the fact that I have minimal singing or dancing talent outside of the comfort of my own four walls.)
Over the years, I’ve cheered for your comeback. I bought your 1995 CD Head Over Heels, and I believed that Crazy Cool was, in fact, cool. I watched American Idol when it started, and I still do. I watched your short-lived reality TV show Hey Paula and spent each episode pulling for you and a worrying a tad. This is not the Paula Abdul I remember over the years.
No, siree. I remember this one. The one who energetically hosted Paula Abdul’s Get Up and Dance workout. This fantastic 54-minute workout was the perfect high-low danced-based routine that even beginners could follow. It was fun, it featured your music, and it allowed all viewers to channel their inner Paula.
Nowadays, the VHS tape is on DVD and features a handy chapter selection to help navigate through your welcoming introduction (including your smart tips about warming up adequately, going at your own pace and staying hydrated), warm-up, dance routines and cool down. But it still captures all of your greatness. You cue well, your energy is contagious, and you make the dance combinations easy to learn, resulting in one big dance party at the end.
Even during the unusual parts of the DVD you keep your cool. For example, at the end of the dance party finale when three normal-looking guys from the back of the set take over for an odd-yet-rousing rendition of the song Y.M.C.A., you roll with it. You even stay collected when one of your co-hosts, Nancy, decides to hijack the cool down with her military-esque style. You remain upbeat and even thank her at the end (although we all know she tried to steal your spotlight).
God, you were glorious! Look how smiley and happy you are in this VHS. How coherent you are! How beautiful and nimble!
If any of the above Paula is still in you—and I know she is somewhere—please bring her back. And make another exercise DVD. I want another one to covet…and review.