Abdul on Fan Suicide: 'Been a Very Tough Three Weeks for Me'

Paula Abdul says contestant suicide "tragic," but judges won't ease criticism.

December 8, 2008, 9:42 AM

Dec. 8, 2008 — -- Paula Abdul spoke out today for the first time about the death of Paula Goodspeed, an "American Idol" hopeful turned stalker who was found dead from an apparent drug overdose in a car outside Abdul's Los Angeles home.

"It was devastating and tragic, and there aren't enough feelings that I can articulate without getting into a whole plethora of things," Abdul said in an exclusive interview today on "Good Morning America."

"I've got to tell you, luckily for me, I was at Hollywood week for 'American Idol' when it happened. I can't even imagine if I was right there in my home. It's just been a very, very tough three weeks for me ... and for her family and for everyone involved."

Goodspeed, 30, was found dead Nov. 11 of an apparent suicide. Police said that prescription pills, along with CDs and pictures of Abdul were found in the car.

Goodspeed auditioned for "American Idol" in 2005 and her off-key rendition of "Proud Mary" was ridiculed by judges. Abdul said after the song that she was "speechless" and "that's not a great thing."

"Idol" judge Simon Cowell made fun of Goodspeed's braces. "I don't think any artist on Earth can sing with that much metal in your mouth anyway. You have so much metal in your mouth. That's like a bridge."

Goodspeed's death reignited the debate over whether the judging on "American Idol" can be too harsh.

When asked today on "GMA" whether she thought the judging on the show should be "rethought," Abdul said, "I don't think Simon Cowell will rethink anything. He's a man that marches to the beat of his own drum."

During that same audition, Cowell also said he saw a resemblance between Goodspeed and her idol Abdul.

"There's a similarity here," Cowell said. "More than just the name."

"I see it definitely," Abdul said.

Today Abdul said that was Cowell's way of piling on.

"It's the typical brother thing that we have. He would say, 'The uncanny resemblance between the two of you,' and just egg it on and egg it on. But what people don't realize, this was a serious, serious situation."

Abdul, 46, has been in and out of the spotlight for more than two decades. She first appeared as a choreographer and cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader, then a Grammy-winning singer and dancer. Now she's a judge on the popular show "American Idol."

As the show enters its eighth season, record producer and songwriter Kara DioGuardi will join Abdul, Cowell and Randy Jackson at the judges' table.

Despite some reports of tension between the two women, DioGuardi and Abdul have been friends for years.

"My life is full of ironies and metaphors," Abdul told "GMA."

Abdul said DioGuardi approached her 10 years ago outside of a diner and asked "Are you Paula Abdul?"

The two had lunch and that day, Abdul said, they collaborated on a song that became a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom for Kylie Minogue.

"I said, 'I'm serious, I'll move you into my house,'" Abdul said. "She lived with me and she was my roommate."

While fans await the Jan. 13 premiere of the new "Idol" season, Abdul is excited for the Dec. 13 launch of her jewelry and accessories line called Forever Your Girl on the Home Shopping Network.

Her other plans for 2009 include her first album of new material in more than a decade and a new reality show special for MTV called "Rah! Paula Abdul's Cheerleading Bowl," in which she searches for the best cheerleading squad in the country.

Abdul said her life seems to be coming full circle. "It's coming up on 20 years of me being a Laker girl and [the song] 'Straight Up' being No. 1."

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