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'Hey Paula!': Can you handle Paula's TRUTH?

July 6, 2007 | 11:54 am

Paula300_2 At least the "Hey Paula!" cameras were around to capture the truth, right?

That would be the truth about those rumors that Paula looked, how shall we say, not sober during those local newscast interviews leading up to last season's "American Idol." She said it was all a misunderstanding: There was a sound issue and a feed mixup and she was responding to questions from multiple cities while her answers were being beamed down to the wrong places.

Well, not entirely.

Here are her interviews on newscasts in Los Angeles  and Seattle. Call us crazy, but doesn't it look like she answered all the questions correctly while appearing inebriated????

But we digress. Back to "Hey Paula!'s" mission last night: Damage Control.

Phase 1: Gifting Suite.

Paula's Mission: Appear not drunk at an event in which celebrities show up, collect free stuff, pose for pictures with the loot and leave.

Mission Accomplished? Just barely. Photographers took plenty of shots of Paula at the event. Apparently they're not at all fazed by drunken or seemingly drunken celebrities -- whew! All was well until Paula spotted a sequined top that had already been placed "on hold" by an unknown celebrity. She proceeded to plead with an event staffer to let her take it anyway. Paula, you are designing clothes for the "Bratz" movie! You do not stoop to beg for free, unflattering clothes!

Phase 2: Accept the woman of the year award from the Nevada Ballet

Paula's Mission: Appear not drunk receiving award. Appear not drunk while explaining to the press what really happened on those newscasts.

Mission Accomplished? Paula stumbled on some of her words while talking to the media before the event -- was she trying to say "recipient" or "receiving"? -- but nailed at least one of her on-camera interviews. It was Simon Cowell's kind words at the ceremony, however, that sealed the deal. Paula, he said, brings some much-needed "heart" to "American Idol."

Phase 3: Wait for "Hey Paula!" to hit the air. That'll show people how things really went down.

(Photo courtesy Bravo)