Video Review: Paula Abdul "Cold Hearted"

At about 9:45 am at the rehearsal studio, which is noted on the screen, the record executives walk in, talking about the space. One male executive states it’s not going to be used for the video. A female executive asks if someone has seen the choreography yet. One executive responds that it’s expected to good and sensual. A third executive adds “tastefully” towards the end. They note edits can be made but as one executive adds, they are shooting tonight and it may not be possible.

In the room, they take their seats. The dancers stretch as they watch them sit down while the musicians stare at their sheet music. Paula Abdul sees them, claps her hands and tells her dancers to “let’s go.”

An executive sips on his coffee as Abdul and the dancers begin their routine. Some of the male dancers slide between the female’s legs and the executives tap their feet to the music. Abdul and the dancers take turns climbing on the metal squares and stretch their bodies. They nod in approval as the dancers carry Abdul.

Some of the dancers close the curtains and remove their tops. The dancers gather in the middle of the metal set, touching each other’s bodies. The executives gulp. The female executive’s jaw drops.

Abdul slides on the floor. The other dancers follow. Later in the routine, the female dancers slide from the male’s hips to the floor. One male dancer pretends to slap a female. One female dancer arches her back while on top of a male dancer. The executives look at one another, thinking of how they are going to explain it to their boss.

In the center, Abdul sings while the male dancer’s hands reach for her. The curtains go up again. She asks the executives what they thought. One responds “nice.” Frustrated, she mouths “nice” to herself and then looks at her dancers. The screen goes black and the dancer’s laughter can be heard. It’s written on the screen: “dancers laugh.”

Rating: 2.5/5

The title cards are redundant and irrelevant, providing an unnecessary narration which is already in the dialogue. It believes the audience is ignorant and incapable of figuring out what a studio looks like. However, corporate bureaucracy is firmly in place as one executive has been briefed on the choreography and is the only one who knows what to expect. It is also the night before of the video shoot and it has to be approved by them.

The conservative executives, though, are on board with the choreography as they slither around the metal set and climb. However, once the dancers remove their tops or shirts, the executives begin to judge as the choreography becomes provocative. The female executive, though, seems proud and in awe of Abdul. The males, though, wipe their glasses or shift in their seats.

Abdul’s frustration with their reaction is understandable. Notes given to her told her to add some sensuality to it. She did and after several meetings is told simply that’s it’s “nice.” She knows what that means:  they are going to list each thing they didn’t like and ask for alternate moves in place of it. She’s going to be working from now until the video shoot. It’s going to be a long few days.

Director: David Fincher Year: 1989

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