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'American Idol''s Paula: What's Next?

May 8th, 2005

The support for PAULA ABDUL, from former "American Idol" contestants to the producers of the popular FOX show, continues to pour forth following the broadcast of ABC's exposé Wednesday night. Meanwhile, "The Insider" breaks news that the famous judge will appear on this Saturday's (May 7) episode of the hit sketch show "Saturday Night Live."

The hour-long "Primetime Live" show explored one-time hopeful COREY CLARK's claims that he had a sexual relationship with Abdul, and that she coached him on what to wear and what to sing to further his "Idol" aspirations.

Among those coming out in support of the "Idol" judge is CLAY AIKEN, who shared a house with Corey during their time together as members of the 2003 Top 12 finalists.

"My first reaction was, 'What?!'" says Clay, who adds that he is suspicious of everything Corey had to say. "I probably yelled at the screen, even more than when I got cut. It was very hard to believe."

Clay was among the 13.8 million viewers of ABC's "Primetime Live"'s exposé on the No. 1 TV show.

"It's been a tough week for Paula," Clay added. "It's really a shame and it's a shame she has to be the target."

The "American Idol" executive producers were also part of the audience, interested to see exactly what allegations the news program was airing.

"I was rather disappointed with the shoddy journalism in last night's special," says exec producer NIGEL LYTHGOE. "I don't think it's good enough to take one person's allegations, especially someone who was kicked off 'American Idol' for lying to the producers."

The special went on to say that Paula gave Corey money for clothesand CDs, and showed records of phone calls from Corey's cell phone to Paula's home number, although there is no proof of who was on the other end of the line. Then there was the recent innocuous message purportedly from Paula on Corey's phone: "Hi, it's Paula. Call me back. Listen, if the press is trying to talk to you, say absolutely nothing."

"The thing I take away from the show is it was circumstantial," Clay says. "I was surprised. I thought it was a little tabloid, especially for ABC News' 'Primetime.'"

Another "Idol" hopeful who had allegedly been linked to Paula was season one's runner-up JUSTIN GUARINI, who was happy to set the record straight.

"Paula and I have never shared any type of romantic relationship," he tells ET. "I have, and always will, treasure her support on both a personal and a professional level in this crazy business we are both a part of."

Another former "Idol" contender weighing in on the controversy is FRENCHIE DAVIS, currently starring in the Broadway production of Rent. Fans of the pop music show will remember that Frenchie also had a bit of scandal. She was booted off the show for her involvement with a porn Web site.

"The fact that he even saved the voice messages is very interesting," Frenchie points out. "Someone had a plan. Is this a setup or what?" Then she adds, "Corey, if you are watching this, I love you, but this is so tacky."

All things considered, Paula is a big part of the success of the show, especially the chemistry between her and fellow judges RANDY JACKSON and SIMON COWELL.

"She's an amazing asset to the show," Clay says. "People think Simon is the reason the show is as spectacular as it is, but it is the dynamic of all three of them. If you changed one of them, it would really change the dynamic of the success of the show."

Luckily for the former Laker Girl, she has the support of the producers.

"Paula supports everybody on 'American Idol,' not just individuals," Nigel says. "That is her role in this production. Thank goodness we've got her, because she's done a marvelous job for the past four seasons."

For all your "Idol" chatter, tune in to tonight's ET.

Filed under: American Idol


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