|Nov 22nd, 2005
By Daniel Fienberg
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
11:27 AM PT
Because of complicated issues involving clearances and copyright law, the first four seasons of FOX's "American Idol" are unlikely to arrive on DVD in uncut form any time soon, a fact that disappoints judge Paula Abdul.
"That's the whole political stuff that I don't get," Abdul admits. "If it were up to me, it'd be different. Sometimes, when a show is so successful like 'American Idol,' it's hard to get everything right, the way you want it to be."
Fortunately, an exhaustive 10-hour-plus compilation of the best and worst "Idol" moments will finally hit shelves this Tuesday (Nov. 22), in a collection dominated by fresh contributions from Abdul. While Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson appear only in canned highlights, Abdul offers new analysis, interviews former contestants and even opens up herself in a lengthy discussion available on the bonus disk of the "American Idol - The Best & Worst of American Idol" limited addition.
"They felt I'd be the right one for it, since I'm an artist myself and I have a close connection with what they go through and what it feels like to be under scrutiny of trying to be your very best for a minute-and-twenty-seconds getting through adversity and hitting your mark the next week even if you don't do the best," Abdul says of her extensive involvement. "They felt I'd be the best at it and I am."
The individual "Best" and "Worst" DVDs are also packaged separately and Abdul is well aware that the assembled masterworks of William Hung, Scary Mary and "Like a Virgin" Keith are likely to be more popular than the more melodic stylings of Constantine Maroulis, Kelly Clarkson or Clay Aiken. She insists that the showcased horrendous auditions represent the true bottom of the barrel, rather than the myriad fakers who show up every year.
"What you do see are the ones who are really delusional, who actually have a serious problem with us and think we are out of our minds," she says.
That's not exactly true. The "Worst" DVD does contain the catchy rap performed in Season Three by one Christopher Noll, the comic better known to MTV viewers as Chris Wylde. The DVD provides no explanation for the practical joke and Abdul is typically chipper about the incident.
"He fooled us," is all she'll say. "First of all, I thought he was really good at doing the rap. I thought he was funny. What you didn't see was how angry he was when he didn't get it."
When it comes to listing her personal favorites, Abdul begins with Season Three champ Fantasia Barrino, but the generally enthusiastic one-time pop star can spread the love.
"I loved it when Constantine did 'My Funny Valentine' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody,'" Abdul starts. "I loved Bo Bice's performances. I loved watching Vonzell Solomon grown into like a stealth warrior. I loved LaToya London and Jennifer Hudson, I loved when we have the Three Divas. There are so many. Season One, I was crushed when I saw Tamyra Gray leave the competition."
Although she's developed a reputation for rarely criticizing contestants, Abdul notes, in a surprisingly candid moment, that she was frustrated, particularly in the first season, by the way she was depicted on the show.
"They didn't represent me fairly at all," she declares. "They edited me out. It came out as 'Oh gosh, Paula doesn't say anything negative about anybody. She loves everybody. She doesn't have the courage or ability to say anything negative about anybody.'"
She continues, "It was a crash course in learning about television and editing and then learning how save what I had to say for live performances."
Abdul also briefly opens up on what true fans are sure to see as one of the major failings of the new DVD -- the absence of appropriate recognition for long-departed co-host Brian Dunkleman.
"That goes back to my theory about editing," she says. "A lot of people don't know what Dunkleman did for the show. Dunkleman won the Aspen Comedy Film Festival. That's why they hired him, so there had to be some substance there. That's all I'm going to tell you."
The "American Idol" DVDs, tragically sans Dunkleman, are now in stores.
Filed under: American Idol