Paula Abdul Thinks Ex-Flack Didn't Jump On Enough Grenades For Her

We incorrectly assumed that as the end credits rolled on the American Idol finale, a designated producer would rush up to judge Paula Abdul, hand her a fist-sized pill for "nerve pain" to gnaw on for a few minutes, and then prop up her slumbering body in a janitorial closet, reviving her from her off-season hibernation only when the first group of Idol hopefuls arrived at January's cattle-call auditions. Abdul, however, has been quite active in the rags since last Wednesday night's sign-off show. She recently railed against how every slurred, on-camera utterance is unfairly scrutinized (can't a popular TV personality chemically manage her chronic pain without people jumping all over her when she momentarily forgets the order that makes strings of words comprehensible?), and today finds herself the subject of a Page Six story describing a "meltdown" she allegedly had on a conference call in which she "seems to be talking to a group of publicists at some point during the last week" about how her former flack wasn't properly servicing her crazy-person needs. An excerpt:

Ranting about [former publicist Howard] Bragman, who apparently didn't appreciate her enough, the petite former pop star says: "I do a call-in every week for OK! Magazine on 'American Idol.' Because of my brilliant job, they want to do a cover on me. I'm being told by Howard Bragman that I'm too old and no one will ever want to do a cover.
"I'm being tested. All I've ever wanted in my life is to be treated fairly and be treated with kindness. And I've never in my entire career been treated this way. The people who are supposed to take care of these things do not. I have to clean up after them everywhere they go. And I'm tired of it.

"Howard Bragman on Monday - he did some disgusting behavior. I had to go to Jimmy Kimmel," Abdul is heard sobbing, "with no publicist there. [Abdul appeared on Kimmel's show on May 15.] I go on with no publicist there and I pay this man . . .

"I don't understand how this man can call me a whining bitch. I've never in my life been called a whining bitch and a loser."

When we asked Bragman when he stopped working with Abdul, he said, "I'm not going into it," and added, "I'll stand by my reputation if she'll stand by hers." Her current rep, David Brokaw, did not return calls.

It's truly unfortunate that such an irreparable rift has opened between Bragman and his ex-charge, as ugly name-calling does nothing but taint the memories of their special time together. On the bright side, it does sound as if Abdul's newly retained media defense team knows what the star expects of them, and is willing to provide the level of service their utterly defenseless client requires. If Paula demands that a rep accompany her on her next talk show appearance and squat behind the couch with a cannister of pepper spray, poised to blind the host at the first hint he's going to ask an uncomfortable question, they'll be there fully prepared to pull the trigger, then to provide a soothing hug as the sensitive Abdul tries to block out the anguished screams of her rude inquisitor.