Paula Julie Abdul (born June 19, 1962 in San Fernando, California) is an American dancer, choreographer, singer, and television personality who began her career as the head cheerleader and choreographer for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Her mother is French-Canadian; her father is of Syrian Sephardic Jewish origin.

She started choreographing the live to tour for The Jacksons, and got her big break as the choreographer for the 1980s videos of singer Janet Jackson. In 1988, she released her debut album Forever Your Girl and, after a fairly long time, became a smash hit star. The album spawned five American Top Five singles (out of just ten songs): "Forever Your Girl," "Opposites Attract," "Straight Up," "Cold Hearted," and "The Way That You Love Me." A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released. The video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. In a sign of Paula's enormous popularity, even MC Skat Kat went on to record his own solo album later that year, though she did not appear on it.

Her follow-up album, Spellbound, is often overlooked in musical history. Abdul made such an impact in late-1980s music that when her second effort was released in the early 1990s, everyone assumed it would be less successful. Instead, it unleashed the American Top Ten ten hits "Rush, Rush," "Vibeology," "Promise of a New Day," "Will U Marry Me," and "Blowing Kisses in the Wind." The single "Rush, Rush" surprised many fans and critics at the time of its release, not only for its lush, stripped-down production values and engaging lyrics, but also because it was a ballad. Prior to the release of "Rush, Rush," many critics had labeled Paula Abdul as a dance artist with limited vocal range who relied solely on choreography and visually appealing music clips. The album Spellbound, though it retained much of the dance-oriented formula heard on her debut album, included songs from "Rush, Rush" to "Alright Tonight" that showcased her growing versatility as an artist and vocalist. Even more interesting is the funk-laden track "U," which was penned by Prince.
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