Despite what you might have read, [artist id="1397"]Paula Abdul[/artist]'s manager says she is not sitting around waiting for "American Idol" to call her back with a new offer. Speaking for the first time since Abdul announced her departure from the show on August 4, manager David Sonenberg told the Los Angeles Times that "Idol" is not part of his client's plans for the future.
Though several reports have surfaced about Abdul's possible return to the show later in the year — and even some speculation from "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson that the whole thing is a just manufactured drama — Sonenberg said there have been "no discussions whatsoever about 'Idol.' " He would never "count anything out," he said, but right now Abdul's priorities are on other projects.
Sonenberg was light on details, but he told the paper that offers have been coming at Abdul from every direction, because of her appeal as "the kind of person who is pulling for you."
"You can always tell when someone is really interested in you and not just going through the motions ... that's clear with Paula," he said. "She's the kind of person who could be your best friend and mentor because she truly cares. ... When you look at the 'Idol' situation, it was clear she cared about those kids, it was clear she wanted them to feel safe."
So far, "Idol" has moved forward by having Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain and Joe Jonas fill in as guest judges during the show's audition rounds. Sonenberg threw cold water on recent reports that Fox had not yet ruled out Abdul's return and the story in RadarOnline.com that the network was holding focus groups to see if viewers liked the new celebrity guest judges. A spokesperson for "Idol" could not be reached for comment on the Radar story at press time, and Sonenberg has not returned several requests from MTV News for interviews.
While Sonenberg told the Times that Abdul has cast her net widely, a few gigs have already fallen by the wayside. A deal to guest-star on "Ugly Betty" reportedly fell apart after details were leaked before a deal was signed, and a stint on "Dancing With the Stars" also didn't come to pass. Another gig Sonenberg said Abdul is not taking is the one offered by former "Idol" producer and current "So You Think You Can Dance" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who has said he'd love to have Abdul be a guest judge on the Fox show.
"I can tell you her focus right now is speaking to all the other networks," Sonenberg explained. "The only one we haven't talked to, because of recent events, is Fox. ... But perhaps we would be speaking to Fox about shows in the near future."
The choreographer/singer feels "fabulous" and "free" at the moment, her manager said, and she's happy to step away from what he described as her "Idol" typecasting.
"She was kind of restricted from doing anything she wanted to do, and now she's free to decide," he said. He added that the major networks — with the exception of Fox — independent cable channels, major corporations and live entertainment businesses have come knocking, and there are also options for book deals, clothing lines and cosmetic brands.
"It's clear she's got an enormous number of fans — people want her to be on ['Idol'], or any other show," Sonenberg said. "She's got to deliver the goods, but assuming she does, she's got an audience who's prepared to listen."
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