Paula's 'Idol' Behavior Has Everyone Talking

Abdul's publicist, Jeff Ballard, released a statement to popular Web site TMZ claiming that Abdul's behavior was a result of "technical problems with the satellite and her sound was dropped not once but twice." The statement went on to say that "Paula was distracted and confused by the station dropping the sound. She did not know what was going on."

"There was no audio problem on our end, at my station," said Fox Q13's news director, Steve Krycik, adding that it was possible that New York, where Paula conducted the interview, was having problems. "Whether or not there was at all, I think people would have to use their own judgment. It was one of the oddest interviews we've ever done. But I don't want to speculate on reasons for that."

Fox released a statement saying: "Last week, during a satellite press tour there were intermittent technical difficulties, including severe audio issues in which multiple stations were speaking to her at once. Rather than getting angry about these difficulties, or stopping the tour, Paula forged ahead and decided to have fun with the increasingly challenging situation."

What may -- or may not -- have been a little good-humored fun for Abdul is now a public mockery and a public relations nightmare.

"I am most surprised by the fact that her publicists allow her to speak freely on live television," said ABC Contributing Correspondent Katrina Szish. "She's not fooling anyone, and I would think they would want to impose some sort of damage control."

But Agnes Huff, owner of Agnes Huff Communications Group, which specializes in crisis management, said that exercising influence over prominent figures, especially celebrities, is often not that simple.

"You can't just put a Band-Aid on the issue," said Huff. "A lot of it depends on the individual that is experiencing that crisis. As a celebrity, things can be blown out of proportion…Part of it is that people tend to be in denial. And they don't really want to look closely at their behavior. None of us like criticism and especially if we think it isn't true."

Any Publicity is Good Publicity?

But Abdul may not have a problem at all. Some speculate that her odd behavior may all be a publicity ploy, cooked up by clever, media-savvy agents to bring attention to the sixth season of "Idol."

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann showed clips from Abdul's interviews, stating it was "either another sad example of a celebrity in need or a publicity stunt."

"It is the second week of the new 'Idol' season," agreed Szish. "And if Paula is acting wacky in the media, she's likely to be acting wacky on the show, which could only entice more viewers -- not like they need it, but every bit helps."

A History of Controversy

It's not the first time Abdul has been the source of celebrity controversy. Last year, former "American Idol" contestant Corey Clark accused Abdul of having an affair with him, lending him money for salon trips and clothing and coaching him during the show. Abdul denied the allegations and Clark disappeared into obscurity.

But rumors of Abdul's painkiller addiction cropped up in the tabloids and clips of odd behavior on Idol circled the Internet, leaving many still questioning just how sober -- or sane -- Abdul really is.

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