Tonight, she will close out the Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand with a six-minute singing and dancing spectacle but this summer Paula Abdul will spread that magic across the street to the stage of Flamingo Las Vegas for a new residency, Paula Abdul: Forever Your Girl.
Beginning on Aug. 13, the first leg features 20 dates and runs until Jan. 4.
Abdul is the latest pop name to grace a Strip marquee and she promises lots of storytelling to go along with the songs and moves that highlight her three-decade-long career.
“I love telling stories through music and dance, and engaging with the audience,” she says. “I’m taking the essence of the classic choreography that has become part of my legacy and I want to have a real experience with the audience so they leave knowing me a bit more.”
This year coincides with the 30th anniversary of her megahit “Straight Up” and the 31st anniversary of her album Forever Your Girl, a period of time that Abdul says has gone by in a blink of an eye.
“Virgin Records understood the importance of my career as a choreographer, and understood that one helps support the other. During that time, everything was happening,” Abdul recounts. “’Straight Up’ was No. 1, I was choreographing the Academy Awards, and the record label wanted me back in the studio and touring. My career was a bullet train and all I remember is running all the time to catch up. I am very grateful that I got to meet so many incredible people and gain fans from all over the world who still support me.”
And while it took a record 64 weeks for Forever Your Girl to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1989, Abdul was the first female to ever receive four No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles off a debut album.
Throughout her career, she has earned six No. 1 songs, eight Top 10 and 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Abdul ranks No. 10 on Billboard’s All Time Top 200 Albums by Women. After a long run as a judge on American Idol, Abdul traveled the U.S. for the sold-out Straight Up PAULA! tour, her first solo headlining tour in over 25 years.
Abdul got her start as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers where she attracted the attention of the Jackson family, later choreographing the 1984 Victory Tour and videos for Janet, who is also launching her own Las Vegas residency Metamorphosis in May.
“I saw Janet last month and gave her an award. It was so lovely to be able to give credit to Janet,” she says. “It was the commitment that she had, and our comradery, and that’s how I started becoming a famous choreographer. It was great to be able to reminisce about how much fun we had and how much hard work we did and she was extremely instrumental to me to have a career as a choreographer.”
She also tips her hat to MC Skat Kat, her animated feline dancing companion from the “Opposites Attract” video.
“I think that I’ll go down in history as one of the [ways people will] remember me … ‘oh, she danced with that animated cat,’” says Abdul, who alludes that her cartoon companion will also make an appearance at the BBMAs and during her Las Vegas dates.
“I’m closing the show. It’s going to be just a fun time, I’ve never closed a show before. And yes, we’re still sorting out Skat Kat’s memo. He’ll make it, but then again, he’s sometimes not shown up. He wants an extra fancy dressing room …,” she says with a coy laugh.
“I’m anxious to see how that works out. I’m thrilled at the opportunity and I’m excited to be housed in one place where people can come and see me,” Abdul says. “I feel like this is the time to do an intimate, fun and exciting show. I’ve always wanted to be in Las Vegas on the Strip performing. And I feel like Las Vegas is kind of a second home to me. I knew it was going to happen one day, and I was thrilled that we able to make it work this time.”
Paula Abdul’s 2019 ‘Forever Your Girl’ dates
Aug. 13, 15 – 17
Oct. 22, 24 – 26
Nov. 26, 28 – 30
Dec. 23 – 24, 27 – 28, 31
Jan. 1, 3 – 4