Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Icons: The Dancing Queen

Icon: Paula Abdul, Singer/Choreographer

"Everyone is your best friend when you are successful. Make sure that the people that you surround yourself with are also the people that you are not afraid of failing with."
Paula Abdul

Long before American Idol, Paula Abdul had her own stint as an idol. The Grammy winning artist/dance/choreographer had massive success in the eighties and nineties with a string of hits. First discovered by the Jacksons while dancing as a Laker girl, Abdul went on to serve as their choreographer. She worked on the Jacksons video for Torture and helped to shape the dance image of Janet Jackson. During the rise of music videos, Abdul was highly sought after as a choreographer.

Cold Hearted Snake

After funding her own demo, she went on to enjoy success at the top of the charts.
Her six #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 tie her for 5th among the female solo artists who grabbed the number one spot. Abdul's debut album Forever Your Girl took 62 weeks to reach number one. Though it holds that record for the longest ascent to the top, it spent ten weeks there once it reached #1.

Opposites Attract

It's only fitting that Jennifer Lopez has seemingly taken Abdul's place on American Idol. Abdul is one of her predecessors. Abdul's early work spawned the careers of J-Lo and Britney Spears. The jazz inspired choreography of Abdul is what Britney grew up studying as a trained dancer. And the vocal styles of Britney and J-Lo also draw influence from the era that Abdul hailed from. (Of course everyone from Pebbles to Janet sounded similar then). Personal setbacks and public meltdowns have overshadowed her legacy. However, Abdul was the woman behind the whispery voiced dancing diva movement.
[You can see the Britney roots in the Cold Hearted Snake video]

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