Paula Abdul, Still Talking about Gene Kelly

In this issue of Los Angeles Magazine (Sept. 2011), Paula Abdul recounts her experiences living and working in L.A. Thankfully, she’s still bringing Gene Kelly into the conversation:

My first memory of being affected by a performance was seeing Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain. I was four. We lived in these condominiums in North Hollywood—just off of Coldwater, right across from the Victory Drive-In. I would gather up the kids in the courtyard of our building and was directing and choreographing musicals before I even knew how to say the words. […]

I told my record company I wanted to do a video homage to Gene Kelly with the song “Opposites Attract” . We dedicated it to him, and he reached out to me. We got to know each other toward the end of his life. I’d just done a successful Diet Coke campaign with Elton John, and they asked me to do a tribute to dance. They took Frank Sinatra out of a scene, and I got to dance next to an image of Gene. And he rehearsed me for it at his house. He was like a drill sergeant. It was thrilling.


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  • Jennifer

    "He was like a drill sergeant. It was thrilling." An odd juxtaposition of sentences, Ms. Abdul. But oddly enough, I totally get it. I didn't know "Opposites Attract" was an homage to Gene… or if I did at one time, I'd forgotten. I watched it just now for the first time in 20 years or so. I don't see a lot of Kelly-inspired movement in her choreography (not even the tap dance section), but I'm sure Gene appreciated the gesture just the same.

    • Yeah, she wanted to do an updated version of the Anchors Aweigh dance with Jerry the mouse. Not an homage to his style but to his use of animation… 🙂

  • Marc

    Haha! This is a blast from the past. I remember Paula Abdul talking about this 'homage' to Gene at the time. It's comforting that high-profile 'celebrities' are still talking about him, even if after watching the video the overall feeling, much like when you listen to Sinatra fan Michael Bublé sing, is one of 'Ah, well… What a lovely gesture, all the same.'