The Jennie-O Turkey Store float will make its third consecutive appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year, but as a new twist, pop star Paula Abdul will ride along the float while singing what could be considered her signature song.

Abdul will be making her first ever appearance in the parade, now in its 96th year, atop Jennie-O’s glitter-covered turkey that measures 36 feet long, 25 feet wide and 24 feet tall. And while Abdul’s there, she will perform her hit song "Straight Up" for the millions of people in attendance and watching the telecast of the parade.

"I'm thrilled to be making my Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut on the fabulous Jennie-O float and I can't wait to perform "Straight Up" for the parade's worldwide TV audience. I hope that everyone has a happy, healthy, and peace-filled turkey day!" Abdul said in a press release.

When I learned of this, it made me smile. I have to give props to Jennie-O, whose marketing team has come up with some pretty clever ways to market itself, like the recent School Lunch Takeover project with celebrity chef Carla Hall, the Queen of Protein campaign, the Turkey Dance Challenge and the Give Your Family the Bird campaign.

And now they’ve drafted the help of a singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality whose pop culture relevance has transcended generations.

"As we enter the third year of our partnership with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this continues to be one of the most iconic and cherished events of the year that coincides with a very important time for our brand," said Kim Anderson, senior brand manager, Jennie-O Turkey Store. "The opportunity to have the legendary Paula Abdul perform in her first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on our float is going to be a memorable moment for all."

JENNIE_O_2021_Macys_Thanksgiving_Day_Parade.jpgThe Jennie-O Turkey Store float will make its third appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (courtesy Jennie-O Turkey Store)


I’m going to date myself here, but I was a college freshman when I first learned of Paula Abdul. Having previously lived my whole life in the country where there was no access to MTV, I did find the new-to-me medium entertaining, even though pop music didn’t suit my swagger at the time. But when I saw Abdul dancing with the animated MC Skat Kat in her “Opposites Attract” video, that was pretty dang cool. I really enjoyed the video.

Yes, I was more into hard rock and country music at the time, depending on my mood, but I couldn’t deny that some of Abdul’s songs, like “Cold Hearted (Snake)” and, yes, “Straight Up” were pretty catchy and fun to dance to. Maybe I was a closet Paula Abdul fan. But later, I found a few of her songs like “Rush Rush” and “Will You Marry Me?” just a little too cheesy, and it wasn’t long before I forgot about Paula Abdul.

Fast forward another 10 years, and she was a judge on “American Idol,” and I found her encouraging nature and kindness to contestants, no matter how badly their auditions flopped, to be refreshing in a world so filled with negativity.

Considering all that she has done through the years, I will admit without reservation that I like Paula Abdul. And I just might “Rush Rush” to the television when the Jennie-O float hits the screen.