Twenty years later, it’s hard to believe that the woman on “American Idol” who appears to be incapable of stringing together a complete sentence was once the hottest chick in the game, but…between 1989-1991 or so, Paula was right up there with Madonna and Janet. Actually, if you pull Madge’s “Immaculate Collection” out of the equation, Paula’s two hit albums, 1988’s “Forever Your Girl” and 1991’s “Spellbound”, outsold Madonna’s entire recorded output from 1989-1996, which consists of three studio albums and a movie soundtrack. Her influence might not have been as far-reaching, but there was definitely a period when she was the preferred option.

The cover of Paula Abdul\'s 1989 smash \"Straight Up\".

While songs like “Opposites Attract” and “Rush Rush” haven’t exactly aged well from a musical standpoint (and the less said about the horrific videos for both, the better), “Straight Up” retains it’s flavor two full decades after it launched Paula’s career (and if we can backtrack for a second, keep in mind that this was the third single release from “Forever Your Girl”…how many labels these days would burn two singles from an artist before breaking them out?). Paula has never been the world’s greatest singer (in the understatement of the year), but she laid into this track with enough attitude to offset her limited vocal capability. Combine the attitude with a relentless backing track and you have a song that served as an anthem to all the ladies out there who were taking no shit from sometimey guys.

Plus, the lady could dance her ass off back in the day. The video’s still mesmerising to watch.

…And can someone tell me why she looks exactly like Lisa Lisa on the single cover?