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Pop Music Superstar, Dance Icon/Choreographer, the Spectacular Paula Abdul Sits Down with Us at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Talks: Her Show, Career, Mentor the Legendary Gene Kelly, Her Bat Mitzvah

This past week, we attended the grand opening performance of music and dance icon Paula Abdul’s residency at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, here in the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas. You can read our show review by clicking here.

This past Friday, Paula Abdul spoke with us during her media day at the Donnie and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo. We discussed a variety of topics about her new Las Vegas show, what it is like dancing in front of a live audience today, her friendship with show business legend Gene Kelly and how having a Bat Mitzvah at 50 years of age, in Israel, was her favorite experience of her life, among other topics.

You can read the transcript or listen to the entire CYInterview below:

Listen to the entire Paula Abdul CYInterview:

Have trouble listening to the audio? Listen here

Chris Yandek: I’m Chris Yandek. Today on CYInterview, we welcome the one and only Paula Abdul who now has her own residency here at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Paula, thank you so much for being on CYInterview. How are you?

Paula Abdul: I’m doing great. Thank you for interviewing me.

Chris Yandek: Well, you’re most welcome. So, let’s just start with this: when I saw the show last night, I felt that you were telling your life story through your show. Is that a fair statement?

Paula Abdul: Somewhat yes. I wanted to make this show feel very personable and I wanted people to leave with a better sense of knowing who I am and to leave with a lot of inspiration and love and joy.

Chris Yandek: Ok, so looking forward to that, I think you’re also reminding people about all the things that you have contributed to entertainment over the last 40 years whether it be TV, movies, dance and music.

Paula Abdul: It does. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have had so many different avenues and aspects of celebrating a career in this industry. So, I thought it was important for people to get to know a little bit more about me and how I became the performer and entertainer that I am.

Chris Yandek: You have also shown, watching this show last night that you can still dance your tail off. So, what is it like for you to know that you can get up in front of a stage and still do it and get applauses?

Paula Abdul: It’s awesome. It’s awesome and it’s surreal. You know, I’m more than twice their age, the rest of my dancers. So, I’m like their mom in many ways. And a lot of these young dancers grew up watching videos of mine or they’re watching their parents, you know, become fans of mine through their families and the fact that, what I love about it is I have magnificent dancers and I truly celebrate them in my show.

And what I love about them is their appreciation because they’re saying there are no jobs where they get to dance like this and you know that, where they get to actually showcase all the years of their training and the different disciplines that there aren’t jobs that they get to do this. So, they’re extremely grateful and I’m grateful. It’s, I have a really great group of people.

Chris Yandek: You talk about show business legend Gene Kelly in this show. And I sat there last night thinking to myself, obviously you have said in the past that he helped you believe that dreams can come true. But is there anything else that just stands out that you learned from him?

Paula Abdul: Well, we became close friends and he would talk to me, we would talk like two dancers, just asking questions and he’d ask me what inspired you to do your Cold Hearted Snake video like and how did you pick the directors. He asked me what inspires me and you know when I got a chance to do a Diet Coke campaign, he called me a Wiccan because he said when I first met him, I said, ‘I hope there’s one day where I could somehow be mentored by you.’

And I remember not two years, two hours after I left his house the first time, he called me up and said, ‘Are you a Wiccan? Because I just got a call from Coca-Cola asking if I would be willing to lend my assets where we dance together.’ And it was, I just had a feeling, I just had a feeling that would happen. And what was so cool is, he said, ‘I will be happy to let you use the estate of my choreography, but I want to train you.’

So, I would go to his house and he would train me and I was replacing Frank Sinatra in the actual scene of the Diet Coke commercial that he’s dancing. And he’d have this stick and go, ‘No Abdul. On the and count between three and four, Francis, [Frank Sinatra] would look to the left and look at me.’ And so like, he was coaching me and it was the coolest thing and I got a lot out of him because he, I would invite him to come down when I was choreographing the Oscars. I had him come down, didn’t tell the producers or the Academy Awards or Billy Crystal who was hosting or my dancers that he was coming and I was gonna have him critique what was going on.

And when I tell you some of the dancers fainted, Billy Crystal was like oh my God. Just the fact that I had a mentor like that, the fact that I got to finally meet and work with someone that really is from the beginning the reason why I’m an entertainer.

With Paula Abdul at her media junket at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino

Chris Yandek: Two more questions. When I say Paula Abdul, music icon and dance icon, what comes to mind?

Paula Abdul: That you’re putting me in an elite category of people that I grew up like idolizing like Ann-Margrets, like Shirley Maclaines, like Judy Garlands, like Ann Miller, Cyd Charisse, I mean, the list goes on. Those were my idols. I always felt like I was born in the wrong era because I grew up really, really appreciating the MGM musical era and that maybe I could be a contemporary artist that would really help bring that knowledge into my artistry. So.

Chris Yandek: My producer, featured columnist Jay Bildstein, hopefully will get to speak one day, maybe do a longer phone interview, would love to do that with you, wanted me to ask you one question, what was it like to have your Bat Mitzvah in Israel back in 2013 in Israel?

Paula Abdul: Well, the fact that I even got to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah at 50 years old was truly incredible. And I, you know, I’ve been studying with my rabbi Chaim Mentz at the Chabad of Bel Air. And when I was going to Israel, I didn’t, it was just like I hadn’t taken a vacation in so long and my rabbi couldn’t come with me. However, he hooked me up with his associates and I was going to do my Bat Mitzvah at the wall, but people started realizing that I was there and it got a little chaotic.

So, I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah in a little place called Safed and it’s like a jewel box. It looks like a fairytale town, you know, it’s incredible and I, it was probably the most magical and mystical experiences of my life. So many incredible messages came through and I was able to meet former President Shimon Peres and spend a day with him. It was my most favorite experience in my entire life. I can’t wait to go back.

Chris Yandek: Come see Paula Abdul at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Thank you so much for being on CYInterview. It’s nice to finally have spoken with you.

Paula Abdul: Thank you so much honey. Thank you.

You can find more information about Paula Abdul’s show Forever Your Girl at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino clicking here.

You can check out Paula Abdul’s official website clicking here.