Paula Abdul, Bruno

If you think Simon Cowell mistreats Paula Abdul on American Idol, wait until you see her meet Bruno.

Posing as the flamboyant Austrian fashionista, Sacha Baron Cohen pranked Abdul for a bit in Bruno and it took her a year to realize it, the Idol judge said on the Johnjay and Rich radio show.

After being told she was named "Artist of the Year" in Germany (Hey, it's possible. They love the Hoff.), Abdul went in for an interview that was approved by her publicist.

"I'm greeted by this futuristic, Captain Nemo—looking dude with a mohawk — and he's flaming," Abdul recalled. "I'm like, 'OK, this is weird. Is this a variety show or something like that?'"

It only got weirder, she says. After apologizing for the lack of furniture, Bruno called gardeners to the room. "And these two Mexican guys come in, and they drop down to all fours. I see him paying them like 10 bucks," Abdul said. "They drop down to all fours and he says [to me], 'Sit down.' And I said, 'I'm not doing that!' ... And he pushes me down on them, and I'm like, 'I'm sorry!'"

Abdul left after Bruno kicked one of the men. She finally realized she was duped three weeks ago after talking to a reporter who said Abdul was one of Baron Cohen's celluloid victims.  

"At 2 o'clock in the morning that night, I woke up in a cold sweat," she said. "I popped my body up out of bed and I went, 'Holy crap! Oh my God!' And that's what happened. And I'm dying. Cause you don't expect it. You just don't expect it."

Bruno hits theaters July 10.

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