Paula Abdul ‘outraged’ after Steve Jones cuts her off on ‘X Factor’
WITH BILL ZWECKER October 27, 2011 7:22PM
In this undated image released by FOX, judges Simon Cowell, right, and Paula Abdul are shown during auditions for the singing competition series "The X Factor." In a scene from Fox's new talent show, the contestant was performing his original song "I'm a Stud" when he pulled his pants down and danced onstage. At a preview for the show Wednesday, Sept 14, 2011, a clip included a graphic of the show's stylized "X" superimposed over his apparent nudity. A grimacing Abdul is shown getting up and retreating backstage. (AP Photo/Fox, Ray Mickshaw)
Updated: January 23, 2012 4:10AM
There was lots of drama Tuesday at the first live show for “The X Factor” — but the really juicy stuff went on after the show ended.
Sources say Paula Abdul had a fit after being cut off by host Steve Jones, just as Abdul was giving an emotional, tearful send-off to the Brewer Brothers, the duo she had elected not to send through to next week in the competition.
“Paula was outraged when Steve interrupted her and said, ‘We have to move on,’ ” said a key “X” staffer. “She thought it was completely disrespectful of the boys but frankly thought it was even more disrespectful of her.”
Jones has defended himself, telling the Hollywood Reporter and other outlets that he was “just doing my job” and explaining the show’s producers were screaming into his earpiece, since the 2½- hour show already was running two minutes over. Abdul, who had an angry meeting with the show’s honchos immediately after they went off the air Tuesday (and followed up again on Wednesday) did not buy that excuse. Nor did a slew of show fans who complained about it on Twitter.
The veteran singer and dancer reportedly complained, “We went too long many times on ‘[American] Idol,’ and everyone was cool with that. … What’s a couple of minutes? The local stations can handle it. After all, we’re giving them a big lead-in number. Ryan Seacrest never, ever cut me off like that.”
† While “The X Factor” producers insist Jones’ job is safe, there have been concerns that he has yet to connect with American audiences. It was hoped that the launch of live “X” shows — with Jones far more visible — would turn that around and make him as popular here as he is in Britain, where he’s been a huge TV star for a decade.
It will be interesting to see if this dustup with Abdul — who is wildly beloved by her fans — will have any impact on Jones clicking with the U.S. TV audience.
TAKE NOTE: Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, has been successful as an actress and producer but now is launching a music career as well. Wilson, who opens Friday night for Sugarland in Indianapolis (at a free concert honoring those killed in the horrible stage collapse last summer at the Indiana State Fair), will release her first album in February.
According to Showbiz411.com, Wilson has snared some big music talent to support her on that debut CD, including Sheryl Crow, Patti Scialfa, Jimmy Webb, Faith Hill, Jackson Browne and Vince Gill.
Of course, Hanks and Wilson’s son, Northwestern student Chet “Haze” Hanks, already is carving his own niche as an up-and-coming rapper.
LOCAL LIGHTS: Action hunkster Paul Walker will head here — probably next summer — to film “Brick Mansions,” a U.S. remake of the French film “Baulieue 13.” Written by Luc Besson, the gritty crime thriller is about an undercover Chicago detective (Walker) chasing down a weapon of mass destruction that was stolen by a drug dealer who runs his gang empire in a neighborhood known as Brick Mansions.
† Our Town’s Vince Vaughn and his producing partner Peter Billingsley are the executive producers of a proposed new TBS comedy. “Sullivan & Son” will star comedian Steve Byrne as a top corporate lawyer who chucks it all to come home to run the working-class neighborhood bar run by his father (Dan Lauria).
DANCING DIVAS: Thanks to the great spinning by New York superstar DJ Kiss — suggested by Desiree Rogers — Chicago’s fashionistas were rockin’ late into the night at the Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council gala opening of the Charles James exhibit, which honored top couture designer Ralph Rucci. Along with the group’s prez Nena Ivon, honorary chair Helen Harvey Mills and event co-chairs Robin Berger, Lawrie Weed and Catherine Eberle, the dance floor was jammed with such well-dressed types as Linda Johnson Rice, Whitney Lasky, Toni and Rick Canada, Rebecca and Charlie Besser, M.K. Pritzker, Neal Zucker, Jamee Field, Stephanie and John Harris and Kathy Brock and Doug Regan.
ROMANCE @ RL: Love was clearly in the air at RL Wednesday night as Mellody Hobson and George Lucas quietly marked a special benchmark in their relationship. “It’s our fifth anniversary and you’re the only guest,” the legendary filmmaker quipped as I slipped into their booth for a momentary hello.
† Also spied dining in the popular eatery were Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza and her fiance David Szostak, happily discussing plans for their upcoming nuptials at Joliet’s St. Joseph’s Church with the man who will marry them: Loyola’s Rev. John Costello.
U.S. BOUND: Word has it Amanda Knox’s Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito — also released from prison after being acquitted by that Italian appellate court in the murder of Meredith Kercher — will reconnect with Knox in Seattle. Sollecito has told the Italian press that every day he speaks to Knox and writes her love letters. The two are said to be discussing a joint book deal. Plus, there’s word they may team up for the first interviews they are expected to do within the next few months.