In the first years of American Idol
, judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell were the Sam and Diane of the show -- they bickered and sparred, but under all their combativeness there was an undeniable sexual tension that was super awkward all the time.
Sometimes Simon looked like he wanted to strap Paula up in a straitjacket, and sometimes Paula looked like she wanted to claw Simon's eyes out with her well-manicured nails, but they never seemed to lose their spark.
In celebration of American Idolcoming to an end after 15 seasons
with an epic, three-night finale, let's take a look back at a few of the dynamic duos most telling moments that proved they were the best couple who were never actually a couple.
1. Simon Keeps Paula Family Friendly
During Season 6, Idol hopeful Jared Cotter sang Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" and Paula couldn’t help but crack up making a sexual pun that no one else really understood. Like a steady hand guiding a ship, Simon gently got the judge's feedback back on track by shutting her down.
2. Paula Looks Like She's Going to Punch Simon
During one season’s auditions, Paula kept accusing Simon of trying to rain on her parade by cutting singers off early to snark at them. Instead of their usual playful banter, Paula looked ready to throw down.
3. Simon and Paula Get Sensual
During the Season 2 finale, Paula and Simon starred in a short sketch about the two of them carrying on an affair. While the whole thing was supposed to be a joke, the segment still featured both of them getting disturbingly erotic by feeding each other strawberries and then kissing passionately (and really awkwardly).
4. Simon Kisses Paula in the Audition Room
While Simon and Paula's kiss in the Season 2 sketch was just for laughs, Simon legitimately (and super awkwardly) forced a kiss on Paula during auditions a few years later. She didn't seem to enjoy it. (Shocker!)
5. Paula Roasts Cowell During His Final 'Idol' Appearance
Despite their ups and their downs, Paula gave Simon a funny and truly touching send off during his final episode that really summed up their entire on-screen relationship. After poking fun at her long-time co-judge, Paula got sentimental, telling Simon that their time together has brought her "immeasurable joy."
"I love all the fun we've had together, I love all the laughter we've shared together, and American Idol is not going to be the same without you," she sincerely said.
Check out American Idol's epic, two-hour grand finale Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.