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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2006

Abdul a big fan of Islands, Klegg Mini

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

"American Idol" judges, from left, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, prepare for auditions in Denver during the Fox show's fifth season. Abdul was hoping to have an audition in Hawai'i again.

RAY MICKSHAW | Fox via Associated Press

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Paula Abdul is spokeswoman for the new Klegg Mini MP3 player.

Business wire

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"American Idol" may have taken a pass on Hawai'i this season, but it wasn't for any lack of trying on judge Paula Abdul's part.

"I begged (the producers) to come back," Abdul said.

Abdul, a regular visitor, has made no secret of her affection for the Islands.

"It's my favorite place to vacation, even if it's only for two days," she said. "We were there for Simon's birthday not that that was so great. But there is so much talent there, and it's so much fun."

Abdul, her voice still raspy from a cold, spoke with The Advertiser last weekend. While she was eager to promote the new Klegg Mini line of MP3 players, for which she is a spokeswoman, she also made time to talk about "American Idol" and its Hawai'i hangover.

Abdul sniffs at the oft-repeated suggestion that Hawai'i's circuits-busting support for former finalists Jasmine Trias and Camile Velasco skewed voting and negatively affected the outcome of the week-to-week competition.

"People talked about how all of Hawai'i was voting for Jasmine," Abdul said. "Well, good for Jasmine. Kelly Clarkson won with all the votes she got from the Midwest."

Still, the show hasn't been left wanting for talented performers. Abdul predicts that this season will be the show's finest in terms of overall talent.

"The talent is more equal between men and women this time," she said. "We have very different and very unique voices."

Abdul said the competition is tight enough to pre-empt any more of fellow judge Simon Cowell's "knucklehead" prognostications regarding who will win.

"This is how good it is: You won't hear him say anything," Abdul said, laughing.

Apart from "Idol," Abdul has been keeping busy with her new role as pitchwoman for the Klegg Mini.

While Abdul's face and legs (check out her dance routine with Verne "Mini-Me" Troyer in the new Klegg commercial) may be doing wonders for marketing, her famous generosity is threatening to dry up the sales market.

"I'm the most popular girl around," Abdul said. "I've been giving mine away to everyone, and they're going insane over it."

To date, Abdul has handed out the tiny, new MP3 player to fellow "American Idol" judges Cowell and Randy Jackson, "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, comedian Arsenio Hall and scores of fans.

"Ellen Degeneres is a diehard iPod fan, but she freaked out when I gave her my Klegg," Abdul said.

With its new Mini, Klegg hopes to carve itself a sizeable niche in a $40 billion market dominated by the iPod and crowded with wannabes.

The device is the smallest MP3 player available (1.8 inches long, 1.6 inches wide and a half-inch thick) and comes in 128 megabyte, 256 mb or 512 mb versions, with prices ranging from $80 to $159. The device comes loaded with a voice recorder, 10,000 image photo storage, CD drive, FM tuner and other tech-geek goodies.

Abdul's new single, "Crazy Love," will be pre-loaded on new Klegg Minis, starting next month.

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.