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Paula dances to new beat

Nov 22nd, 2013

The West Australian

Having survived more than 30 years in the ruthless entertainment industry, global pop icon Paula Abdul has seen it all.

And the one-time LA Lakers cheerleader - who spearheads the judging panel on Ten's 2014 reboot of So You Think You Can Dance Australia - encountered twerking long before the rest of the world caught on courtesy of Miley Cyrus.

"What we need to remember is that Miley Cyrus did not create twerking," the 51-year-old reminds AAA down the line from Sydney.

"The first time I saw a movement like that was when I was a performer and rap was big and synonymous with the voice from the street.

"You would see groups like 2 Live Crew where girls were in booty shorts, bending over and doing the same movement and I thought 'Hmmm, that doesn't look really creative to me'.

"I can appreciate the talent but it's not my cup of tea. I think Miley Cyrus was the communicator just as Madonna was with voguing. It's like an iconic pop star can do something and then, all of a sudden, they're synonymous with it.

"You won't see me twerking. However, I taught my chihuahua Bessie Moo how to twerk and stick out her tongue."

After being discovered by the Jackson 5, San Fernando-born Abdul became a highly sought-after dance choreographer before morphing into a multi-platinum recording artist during the height of the music video era with hits Straight Up, Rush Rush and Opposites Attract, and sales exceeding 60 million copies worldwide.

The past decade has seen her reinvent herself as a judge on TV shows such as American Idol and The X Factor America.

Helping relaunch SYTYCD Australia sees the LA-based star in Sydney until the end of the month overseeing auditions alongside Perth choreographer Jason Gilkison before returning for the live shows in February.

Not only has she realised a long-held dream to visit Australia but Abdul recently fulfilled another wish when she made a spiritual sojourn to Israel earlier this month.

"Everyone who goes - and it doesn't matter what religious background or ethnicity they are - says it's the most incredible experience," the Jewish-American multiple Grammy and Emmy-award winner says.

"You're in the holiest land and you're experiencing the Bible. Every day I was crying tears of joy. All I could think about is when I get home to LA, less than 72 hours later I get to go to another place for SYTYCD Australia. So I had the most profound experience in Israel and now, I have continued it."

But she will have to make herself feel at home without her pooches.

"They can't come because they'll be in quarantine," she said. "So I'll Skype with my dogs!" 

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