On “American Idol,” Paula Abdul refuses to say anything negative about a contestant: If they’re awful singers, she compliments them on their hair or wardrobe. Bravo’s new reality show offers a Paula Abdul who is apparently her evil twin, demanding to be pampered by hairstylists, assistants and QVC personnel. All “Hey Paula” teaches viewers is that nothing that goes wrong in her life is ever her fault. Now, the big question is whether viewers will care about a day in the life of the “Idol” judge.
Early into the first half-hour of the seven-episode series, we’re introduced to her entourage: publicist Jeff, hairstylist Daniel and wardrobe assistant Kylie. And what cultural icon would be caught dead without a Chihuahua, so Abdul has Bessie Moo, Chomps, Thumbelina and Tulip all yapping incessantly, nearly swallowing a million-dollar ring and leaving deposits in the backyard that housekeeper Marina has to pick up.
After Daniel’s four hours of preparing her for the Grammys, she’s properly groomed, coiffed and squeezed into a Valentino dress. And it’s off to the big show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but when Joan Rivers refuses to shower her with red-carpet praise, Abdul feels a bit let down.
Immediately after the kudocast, Abdul has to rush to LAX and hop a red-eye flight to Philadelphia to tubthump her jewelry on QVC, where her signature line is a big seller. In the rush, she says she’s feeling unloved by her peeps.
Someone has packed tight jeans for Abdul to change into, but not her sweats for the long flight; now she won’t be able to sleep. She blames her assistant. Plus, she has no idea where her ID is, which makes it tough for her to board the plane. She blames the assistant again. Later, she becomes upset with the QVC employees because it’s not the jewelry she had intended to sell. It’s their fault.
Abdul’s stamina is impressive. She’s up for nearly 48 hours, full of vigor throughout the telecast, and gets a bit verklempt and teary eyed when an older woman calls in to tell her how much she’s meant to her. It’s a bit difficult to think how the two ladies might relate, but, hey, inspiration comes in unusual ways.
As in any reality show, much of the drama and dialogue is amped up for entertainment’s sake, but even then, gems such as “I’m tired of people not treating me like the gift that I am,” and, “At first, people see me as a celebrity, but then they realize I’m just an everyday girl,” seem a bit too calculated.
Wonder if Randy and Simon are “everyday” guys?
Production values are adequate enough to get the point across, but seem a bit less professional than Bravo’s other reality skeins.