On this day back in 2002, a summer replacement show called American Idol first debuted on Fox. It quickly went on to become not just a ratings monster, but a phenomenon that’s been described as “the most impactful show in the history of television.” Now, in a new interview, former judge Paula Abdul reveals that she almost quit the show in 2008…over that season’s eventual winner, David Cook.
“I threatened to quit the show because I believed so much in David Cook, and Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson weren’t big believers,” Paula tells US Weekly. According to Paula, right after Hollywood Week, and before the Top 24 cut that viewers called “The Green Mile,” she recognized David as a potential winner, but the producers wanted to get rid of him.
“I said, ‘This is crazy. I think this guy can win…You guys are wrong. You’re wrong. And I’m so steadfast on this. He can win this show,’” Paula recalled. “And that is the truth.”
As a result, she reveals, “We shut down production for hours and hours, until they finally gave in. It was like, the producers let me fight it out with Simon and Randy, because Randy initially was going for David Cook and then he changed his mind because Simon got to him.”
In the end, David Cook was seen as a “dark horse” who managed to beat David Archuleta in a finale watched by 31 million people: It was one of the highest-rated Idol finales ever.
David’s debut album went platinum and produced two top 20 singles, and his coronation single, “Time of Your Life,” was the best-selling Idol coronation single until Phillip Phillips‘ “Home” overtook it in 2012.
By Andrea Dresdale
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