For eight seasons, “American Idol” fans have circled the date on their calendars when the latest batch of wannabes belly up to the judge’s table to be ridiculed, laughed at and taken away by security. Around here we call it the audition rounds. And for eight years, Simon Cowell has been there to kick them while they were down, roll his eyes and laugh at their misplaced exuberance while occasionally sending a few genuine talents through to Hollywood.
Up until last night, former Laker Girl and animated cat collaborator Paula Abdul was right there beside him, often playing the role of the indulgent yin to Cowell’s naysaying yang: She danced, sang along, hugged people and complimented them on their shiny outfits and funny hats.
But, alas, Tuesday night’s season nine premiere had a Paula-shaped hole for the first time in the show’s history. Here’s the question: Did you notice, and did it bother you?
While guest judge Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham hardly blinked, moved or spoke during her stint on the show, it was remarkably easy to forget who used to occupy that spot. Unlike the flaming ratings hole Jay Leno left in NBC’s late night lineup, the first night of post-Abdul numbers of “Idol” were decent at 29.8 million, without any significant drop-off in audience tune in.
It’ll be hard to tell exactly what the impact of Abdul’s absence is, especially considering the fact that Cowell has hijacked the story with the news of his own departure. But the lack of Abdul will be felt in some way, so we ask the question: Do you miss Paula? Let us know in the comments, tweet us @mtvnews or head over to Your.MTV.com to make your voice heard!