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Paula Abdul: 'American Idol' couldn't replace me, only "move on"


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/21/2009 

American Idol judge Paula Abdul apparently feels she is irreplaceable.

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During a recent interview with Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden that will air Thursday night on the ABC news magazine, the Idol judge confirmed that she has still not signed a new contract to remain with the Fox show beyond its current eighth season.

"Do you think [new Idol judge Kara DioGuardi] will replace you?" asks McFadden.

"I don't think anyone [can]," replied Abdul.  "First of all, Kara says, 'I could never replace you.' And I said, 'Whenever there is change it's not about replacing anybody. It's about possibly moving on.'"

"So do you want to stay on the show or not?" asked McFadden.

"I love the show, I do. I love what I do on the show, and I'm loving it more this season than ever," answered Abdul.  "It's taken me a while to get comfortable in my own skin with the show."

During the interview, Abdul also said that both she and fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson only learned about the decision to add a fourth judge after it had already been made.

"I just got out of this hospital this past August. I had three days to pack and go on the road. I found out on the way to the airport," Abdul told McFadden.  "Nor was Randy. Randy found out hours before me."

When pressed, Abdul suggested she wasn't very happy with the way the situation was handled.

"That's being informed... I thought that respectfully all of us as a group, maybe we could even figure this out together, and I was surprised because Simon has always been against the fourth," she said.  "We've had guest judges come in before, and he banned that from happening anymore."

Abdul is currently in the last year of a three-year contract she signed with Fox in March 2006.  Rumors that the network is considering replacing her have swirled for years but grew stronger when the network announced DioGuardi would join Idol as a new fourth judge last summer.

OK! Weekly reported that the Idol judge was developing new television projects and was hoping to "transition" off the Fox mega-hit reality series in November.

Abdul's personal publicist Jeff Ballard later called the report "absolutely untrue", however Abdul subsequently sparked new speculation when she did a December interview in which she lashed out at American Idol's producers and suggested that the fact that she was still "under contract" was the primary reason she was returning for the show's currently-airing eighth season.

Abdul later denied saying "anything disparaging" during the December interview with Barbara Walters.

"I'm a big fan of the show," she said in January. "I am blessed to be the show. It's the greatest show on television all around the world." 

Most recently, Fox reality chief Mike Darnell has stated that the network is "trying to make a new deal" with Abdul.



(Photo credit Fox)


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