In the reality-TV equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, So You Think You Can Dance has cast Paula Abdul as guest judge tomorrow night. Dance‘s overall audience is down about 27% this summer, compared to last. Abdul, meanwhile, was a resident judge for eight seasons on American Idol back when it was the country’s most popular series by a wide margin. She left the show in a contract-renewal dispute, which, at the time, we all thought was a pretty dumb move, but which now looks less stupid because she can say she was involved with the singing competition during its cultural-phenom years, instead of the penny ante-stuff it has become. Abdul also was a judge/mentor on the first season of The X Factor, when it brought in about half the crowd creator Simon Cowell had boasted it would average — and numbers X Factor would kill for now. Cowell replaced Abdul with Britney Spears, who spent one season making Abdul look really good at it, before discovering she, BritBrit, was neglecting her music career and bowed out.

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