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Thursday, January 11, 2007 - Page updated at 01:10 PM

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Who's delusional now? Paula Abdul ditzes out on KCPQ-13

Seattle Times staff reporter

It was a Tivo moment to be sure. One you wanted to pause and replay because, if you're into celebrity gaffes, it looked too good to be true.

On this morning's KCPQ news program, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul looked utterly loopy, slurring words, smiling crookedly, waving with both hands, unable to stay quite in the camera's frame during a live interview (from New York City) to talk about Seattle's singing talent.

You could, initially, write it off as a technical malfunction. It appeared as if maybe she wasn't properly miked and thus wasn't hearing what Q13 FOX anchors Lily Jang and Carmen Ainsworth were saying.

Ainsworth: "Right off the bat: What do Idol fans have to look forward to seeing and what are you looking forward to seeing?"

Abdul: "Well. (Long pause). Is THAT what it is? I was wondering what is that?"

She gave the anchors a two-handed "Good morning" wave. Then, when Jang asked, "What are you looking forward to?" she squirmed, put a finger to her hair, giggled and said "Wow." By then Ainsworth said it appeared that they were having audio problems and they'd try "to get back to Paula." Abdul could be seen talking some more but the sound was off.

(Hmm. Would Katie Couric, if she were still on the mornings, have gone for the jugular and asked the only logical question: "Paula, what's WRONG with you?")

There was a "local angle" to Abdul's interview. The enormously popular "Idol" last year stopped in Seattle to scour for talent. Judge Simon Cowell described the experience as "two days of total misery." You can judge for yourself when the show returns with the Seattle auditions in a two-part, 4-hour premiere, Tuesday and Wednesday.

So on its Q13 morning news program, the anchors hyped an "exclusive season preview" with Abdul. And after the initial uh, flub, cameras cut away from Abdul, leaving the anchors to shuffle through their scripts and announce the return of "24" (Sunday and Monday). Then Abdul, still loopy, was back.

Ainsworth: "So tell us, what are you looking forward to this season?"

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Abdul, chuckling: "How about a lot of you coming in? It's a wild party where you are."

Some chatter about Simon's Seattle critique and then Abdul: "I have to agree with Simon. Hey, you know what? It is what it is."

Eventually, some statements started to make sense. Abdul talked about the "legitimacy" of "Idol," its longevity and how any publicity is good publicity. More on Seattle: "Seattle had the best delusional people." Followed by her observation that there were some "excellent" contestants as well.

When it was over, said Jang: "That Paula. Always a trip."

The Abdul interview is to air again on tonight's 10 p.m. newscast. If it does, the best stuff likely will be edited out.

If it does, the best stuff won't likely air.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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