(CBS) - Paula Abdul takes over CBS tonight starting at 8:00PM on Secret Celebrity Home Renovation and continuing through the 9 o'clock hour with The Greatest #AtHome Videos. During the first hour, Abdul will help renovate her childhood dance teacher's space and moving into hour two she will be surprising a young woman who went viral when a hidden recording of her singer hit the internet.
CBS' Matt Weiss spoke to Abdul about her lifetime friend and mentor Dean Barlow, creating a new space for children to learn and surprising a talented young singer.
MW: Paula, hello! Pleasure to see you today ahead of Friday night's Paula take over on CBS!
PA: I'm excited!
MW: I think we all are! Starting off at 8PM, we have Secret Celebrity Home Renovation. Can you talk about who you are going to be surprising and what role they played in your life?
PA: I was approached by Bob Horowitz, he phoned me and halfway through his description of what this show's about, it was like a no brainer for me. I knew who exactly who I wanted to pay gratitude towards and that's my very first dance teacher, Dean Barlow.
I started when I was 7 1/2. At that age it's so important as a young person to learn to align your heart with passion. Dean Barlow provided that for me. I have my father and then I would have my TV dad which was Gene Kelly to me because that's how I fell in love with performances. When I was 4-years-old watching Singing In The Rain. The next closest male figure to me was my dance teacher.
At that young age it's so important line your heart with passion. He taught me that through dance as well as my older sister Wendy. Not just for my sister and I but anyone who lived in the San Fernando valley for sure if they took a dance lesson, they took a dance lesson from Dean Barlow.
He's meant everything to me, my entire life, I carried him throughout my teens. When I became a famous choreographer, I had him choreograph tap sections in my MTV videos as well as I brought him aboard when I was choreographing the Academy Awards. We both won Emmys for that.
He's been my good luck charm and just someone whose been such a mentor in a positive way. The humility of this man and the graciousness of him is just so impeccable. I feel like I've had such a great teacher in my life and it was time to pay it forward to young kids as well as giving gratitude to Dean. The coolest part of all was the fact it all took part at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park And Recreation Center.
As a child I would go through the park to grade school. I would walk back home through the park. I was a summer camper at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park. Here I now comeback to that one place and it's still the same. I didn't know how this would become a dance studio. But between myself, Jason, Sabrina, and this show we were able to turn this into a state-of-the-art dance studio and name it as the "Dean Barlow Dance Studio."
Not only was I putting a dance studio to continue Dean Barlow's legacy I was also paying it forward to all the young kids that are finding their passion, through arts and crafts, through dance. It was just a great experience all around.
MW: I'm glad you mentioned that. You have so many great memories there and now you've contributed to building this space for a whole new generation of kids who are going to be able to make their own memories there, their own experiences. What does that mean to you?
PA: It means quite a bit to me. It means a tremendous amount. Probably, most importantly, because I was one of the kids that spent my life, it was my home away from home. For me it's even more near and dear to me because I was one of those young little kids that wore the camp t-shirts and did all the camp excursions out of that park.
Plus tying it all back to Dean Barlow and continuing his legacy is extremely important to me. It always has been because he's big, huge part of my career.
MW: Do you have a favorite memory you can pinpoint when you think of that space?
PA: Wow, I mean everything. I just remember camp songs. I remember doing the whole s'mores, painting, doing arts and crafts, learning how to play tennis, softball, everything, but dance.
Dance was a couple miles away at Dean Barlow's dance studio. If you continue down this one street that's right near the park on Burbank Blvd you go about one mile and there was Dean's studio. The B&B Dance Center, that's all my childhood.
All of my school friends from grade school, junior high, and high school they all knew who Dean Barlow was. They took classes from him as well or they would drop me off at class.
MW: Incredible. Then at 9:00PM we'll be seeing you again for The Greatest #AtHome Videos. What are we going to be seeing in part two of the Paula takeover?
PA: [laughs] Well, I love Cedric the Entertainer. Not only is he gifted, funny, and talented, he's just such a good guy. He exemplifies that good feeling. I get two hours on CBS where it's all about feeling good.
The Greatest #AtHome Videos, I loved the first season, so when I was approached by production to come do the show it just so happened I had seen this video go viral on TikTok, all over social media about this babysitter who was singing to the kids she was babysitting. The mother captured the whole thing on video.
This girl, this babysitter's voice was nothing shy of being straight from a Disney motion picture. Her voice is angelic, it was just so cool. The fact that her and her mom were on camera together and I surprised them; the look on their face was priceless. I was able to give great career advice or tidbits of good tips to take in pursuing her career.
MW: This girl is so special, do you think she has a career in music if she wants to pursue it?
PA: If she wants to pursue it, which I truly believe she does, she definitely has a great shot. She does.
MW: Fantastic. Thank you so much for the time today, any parting words as we prepare for the double dose of Paula?
PA: I'm just excited for everyone to fill a place in their heart after watching these shows. It's truly inspiring to be able to give back and to help build and leave a legacy behind. I know Dean Barlow's very proud of that. With The Greatest #AtHome Videos it was really great to hear from this gifted young girl who is aspiring to become a big singer.
MW: I'm sure you were a huge influence for her as you are for so many people and as Dean has been for you. Paula it's been awesome talking to you, all the best!
PA: Thank you so much!
Tune in for a double dose of Paula Abdul tonight starting at 8:00PM ET/PT on CBS or streaming live via Paramount+ and the CBS App. Check your local listings for more information.
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