May 09, 2005 07:00 AM

Although it’s still too early to call it the last laugh, Paula Abdul had some fun with the current controversy surrounding her, by introducing the weekend’s Saturday Night Live.

Hands on hips and smiling as the NBC studio audience burst into loud applause when she appeared onscreen, the embattled American Idol judge introduced “a re-enactment of some events from this week’s biggest news story” on the comedy show.

The sketch that followed was based on allegations made by former Idol contestant Corey Clark, who claimed on an ABC Primetime Live special Wednesday that he and Abdul had a personal relationship, during which she coached him for her show. FOX, which airs Idol, says it is investigating the matter.

On Friday, Abdul issued a statement expressing “my deepest appreciation” for supportive fans. “I do trust my fans who can see through attempts at character assassination, and I do trust the essential fairness of the American public,” she said.

On SNL, Amy Poehler played Abdul, while Finesse Mitchell mimicked Clark as if appearing on Idol.

“Corey, that was beautiful,” said Poehler as Abdul judging his song performance. “You really blew me away. It’s like I rolled over and said to you this morning, ‘You have real star quality.’ I’ll see you at home.”

At the end of the sequence, Abdul critiqued Poehler, saying: “You need to perfect the clap a little more and be a lot more sexier so contestants will be willing to sleep with you.”

Abdul then looked into the camera and declared, “Live from New York … it’s Saturday Night!”

Also notable on this SNL was host Johnny Knoxville’s turn as Elton John’s fiance David Furnish (to cast member Horatio Sanz’s John), in a skit about how Donatella Versace (Maya Rudolph) would design their wedding. Knoxville and Sanz played kissy face.

Then there was the four-letter uttered during the night’s musical performance. Guitarist Daron Malakian of System of a Down yelled “F— yeah!” as the song wound down. Neither NBC nor the FCC has commented.

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