Pop star-turned-reality TV queen Paula Abdul is still in shock after realising a recent TV interview with an odd Austrian was a prank, set up by funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen.
The singer and American Idol judge thought the chat with Cohen's alter-ego Bruno was a little strange, but she brushed it off as a surreal encounter with an oddball European TV presenter. She thought she had won a German award and was meeting with Bruno to discuss her career.
Then, just weeks ago, she was asked what it was like to be punked by the British funnyman, who was filming segments for his new movie, Bruno, and she suddenly realised she had been part of an elaborate practical joke.
Abdul says, "It is the most interesting, whacked-out situation that happened to me. I was scarred for life for a year.
"I'm greeted by this futuristic Captain Nemo-looking dude with a Mohawk... I'm going, 'Oh, this is going to be one of those fun Japanese game shows.'"
But she knew something was wrong when Cohen - as Bruno - insisted she use two Mexican gardeners as a seat for her interview.
She adds, "They drop down to all fours.... and he says, 'Sit down.' I said, 'I'm not doing that.'"
Abdul eventually fled the interview when she realised there was no award and drove off with Cohen's character chasing her down the street.
And she has only just pieced together the prank.
Speaking on U.S. radio show Johnjay and Rich on Thursday (30Apr09), she said, "Three weeks ago, my manager sends over something. He says, 'I have no idea what this is. ...People magazine wants to know how it feels to be totally punked by Sacha Baron Cohen.'
"I said, 'I've never done anything with Sacha Cohen.' And, at two o'clock in the morning that night, I woke up in a cold sweat. I popped my body up out of bed, and I went, 'Holy c**p! Oh, my God!' And that's what happened. And I'm dying."