After a trip to a Studio City nail salon, Abdul's thumbnail becomes infected. She's in and out of hospitals, but the doctors end up removing the nail. In June 2005, she will testify before the California State Legislature, urging lawmakers to force nail salons to clean up their acts – and their equipment.
ABC's PrimeTime Live airs accusations from second-season Idol contestant, Corey Clark that he had a three-month, romantic liaison with Abdul. Clark claims Abdul coached him – buying him clothes and selecting songs for him – while he was a contender (he was booted because he had failed to reveal a prior arrest). Abdul releases a statement saying Clark is "communicating lies" about her. FOX launches an investigation but then closes the case due to "insufficient evidence." Business Wire reports Abdul saying she is "grateful that the ordeal is over."
Abdul knows a good gig when she sees – and hears – it. She signs on for at least three more seasons as judge on American Idol. Abdul is also tapped by Cowell to be a guest judge on his launch of the British Idol-inspired The X-Factor talent contest show. Abdul, along with regular judges Cowell, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, spots that certain star quality in contestants.
The Bravo network announces plans to film a reality series, Hey Paula, slated for June 28. It will follow Abdul as she judges the sixth season of American Idol, works on Bratz: The Movie and develops a perfume and cosmetics line.
After stepping out with new beau, restaurateur J.T. Torregiani, 32, Abdul, 45, returns for the seventh season of American Idol. But most importantly, Abdul returns to music, unveiling her new single, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow," which will appear on the upcoming album, Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Vol. 1. "It just seemed the right time," she says of creating the new record, given that her last single was released in 1993. "The timing just came together."
Paula Goodspeed, an obsessed Abdul fan who stalked the singer for years, is found dead outside Abdul's home. Goodspeed confessed her obsession with Abdul during a season five Idol audition, which Abdul objected. "I said, 'This girl is a stalker of mine. Please do not let her in," she told Barbara Walters. But show producers overrode Abdul's requests in favor of "entertainment value."
Ending speculation about her future on one of the most popular shows on television, Abdul confirmed she will no longer be at the judge’s table on American Idol. "With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to Idol," Abdul, 47, writes on her Twitter page. "I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon."
Abdul returns to TV as star and executive producer of CBS’ dance competition Live to Dance. "[It's] about celebration rather than elimination," she says of the show, which does not put age or dance form restrictions on contestants. "I hope the audience gets the same experience that the acts are living out."
Abdul reunites with Cowell to bring his U.K. singing competition X Factor to the U.S. She joins a judging panel that includes music vet Antonio "L.A." Reid, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole and her former, fellow Idol judge. "[I] know that it will be an extraordinary journey – we're going to have a blast," Abdul says. "I'm also delighted and grateful to be sitting next to Simon again ... but you might want to check back with me in a week or two!" After just one season, Abdul leaves the show and is replaced by Demi Lovato and Britney Spears.
BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Rich Pedroncelli/AP; Matt Baron/BEImages; Jordan Strauss/WireImage; Mark Sullivan/WireImage; Fitzroy Barrett/Landov; Courtesy Entertainment Tonight; Lionel Hahn/Abaca; Monty Brinton/CBS; Ann Porter/Broadimage