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Paula Abdul Has Affair With Contestant


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CNN

 

'Idol' accuser won't help investigation

'Idol' judge Abdul has issued strong denial of allegations

Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 1:02 PM EDT (1702 GMT)

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- The former "American Idol" contestant who claims he had an affair with judge Paula Abdul said Thursday he won't help Fox investigate his charges.

 

Corey Clark, the 2003 contestant who said Abdul coached him on song selection, helped buy him clothes to wear on television and eventually initiated a sexual relationship, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America."

 

"I don't have any interest in helping 'American Idol' out whatsoever, because they haven't helped me out whatsoever," Clark told ABC reporter John Quinones. "They made it very hard for me to do what I'm doing, which is my career."

 

Fox issued a statement Thursday saying it had contacted Clark for his help investigating the claims but "that has yet to happen."

 

"We have concerns about the motives behind last night's purported news special, as much of it was filled with rumor, speculation and assertions from a disqualified contestant who admitted during the special to telling lies," Fox said.

 

"Regardless, we are absolutely committed to the fairness of this competition," the network said. "We take any accusation of this nature very seriously no matter their source and we have already begun looking into this."

 

In a statement last week, an Abdul representative said she would not address Clark's "false statements." The representative called Clark "an admitted liar and opportunist who engages in unlawful activities."

 

The "Primetime Live" special drew 13.8 million viewers on Wednesday, winning its time slot against "CSI: NY" on CBS and "Law & Order" on NBC. The "American Idol" episode aired earlier in the evening was seen by an estimated 24.5 million people, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings.

 

Clark, who recorded a song called "Paula-tics" and said he was in love with the pop star nearly two decades his senior, ducked Quinones' question about whether Abdul should be kicked out as a judge.

 

"I don't know," he said. "I'm not attacking her at all. She just happens to be the key to getting this 900-pound gorilla off my back.

 

"I think they should look at what I was trying to say, which was that she risked so much to help me avoid the exploitation of the machine called 'American Idol,' " he said.

 

ABC's "Fallen Idol" special, an unusual critical report by a television network on a rival's hit show, aired during a ratings "sweeps" month, which helps determine advertising rates. It aired a half-hour after the current version of "American Idol" sent home singer Scott Savol to reach its final four contestants.

 

Fox noted that while judges can offer their opinion, the viewers eventually decide who wins.

 

"We have gone to great lengths and great expense to create a voting system that is fair and reliable," Fox said.

 

Clark reached the final 12 contestants in 2003 but was thrown off for failing to reveal a past arrest record.

 

"Primetime Live" showed how Clark, who was 22 at the time, serenaded Abdul during an audition, sauntering to the judge's table and kissing her on the hand. Later, he said someone slipped him Abdul's phone numbers.

 

He called, she sent a car to bring him to her house and they spent the night talking about how to get ahead in the game, he claimed.

 

"Primetime Live" detailed how Abdul, now 42, helped Clark get a cell phone and showed pages of phone records it said detailed their calls -- one lasting 155 minutes.

 

"It felt like she was hitting on me a little bit," he said, "and I liked it."

 

He described how Abdul came up behind him one night and kissed him on the back of the neck, and that was the night their affair began.

 

The network interviewed several former contestants who missed chances to be among the final 12 contestants the year Clark moved forward.

 

"If these types of things are going on behind the scenes, there's really no point to 'American Idol,' " said one, Patrick Fortsen.

 

Clark said Abdul recently contacted him and urged him not to talk about the relationship. ABC played a tape of a cell phone message allegedly left by her.

 

"Hi, it's Paula," said the message. "Call me back. Listen, if the press is trying to talk to you, you say absolutely nothing. That's all you do."

 

Clark has written a book titled "They Told Me to Tell the Truth, So ... (The Sex, Lies, and Paulatics of One of America's Idols)." It was made available online Thursday one minute after "Primetime Live" went off the air.

 

Remaining competitors in this year's game are long-haired heartthrob Bo Bice of Helena, Alabama; birthday boy Anthony Fedorov of Trevose, Pennsylvania; Vonzell Solomon of Fort Myers, Florida; and Carrie Underwood of Checotah, Oklahoma.

 

Wednesday's vote was a disappointment for organizers of votefortheworst.com, a Web site that was conspiring to get the least talented contestant the record contract prize. Savol, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, was its pick. (See story.)

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Guest Fritz

Jim Rome has been talking about this a lot lately. What a black eye for the show, then again, it's not like it had a ton of credibility anyway.

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