In a surprising move, American Idol judge Paula Abdul has announced she has decided not to return for the show's ninth season.

"With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to [American Idol]," Abdul wrote in a series of late Tuesday night postings on her Twitter account.

"I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from [Day 1] become an international phenomenon," she continued.

"What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me.  It truly has been breathtaking, especially over the past month.  I do without any doubt have the BEST fans in the entire world and I love you all."

Abdul's American Idol contract had expired at conclusion of this year's eighth edition.  Idol's ninth-season callback auditions (the first in which the show's judges participate) are scheduled to begin in Denver on Friday.

Although Fox and American Idol executives had repeatedly denied they were considering not re-signing her to a new contract, Abdul's Idol future had been the subject of ongoing media speculation ever since they had announced Kara DioGuardi would be joining the show as a new fourth judge shortly before the show's eighth-season callback auditions began last summer. 

Much of the speculation was fueled by Abdul herself, who had repeatedly been noncommittal about her future with the show during media interviews.

Abdul's increasingly obvious attempts to negotiate through the media had appeared to be come to an end in early July when she announced she had been invited to continue serving as an American Idol judge until the show goes off the air.

"I've been invited to stay the duration of the show, however long it lasts," Abdul told The Associated Press before adding that the invite was still contingent on her agreement to a new deal.

However Abdul resumed negotiating through the media two weeks later when her manager publicly proclaimed she was "hurt" and had yet to receive a proposal for a new contract from American Idol's FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment production companies.

"Very sadly, it does not appear that she's going to be back on Idol," Abdul manager David Sonenberg told The Los Angeles Times.  "She's not a happy camper as a result of what's going on. She's hurt. She's angry."

"I find it under these circumstances particularly unusual; I think unnecessarily hurtful," Sonenberg added. "I find it kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful that they haven't stepped up and said what they want to do."
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The following week, Abdul also used her Twitter account to deny a report that she had reached a new deal with the show.

"Hey guys, I have not made a deal [with Idol]," Abdul wrote in a July 26 posting.  "Don't know how that rumor got started but it's not true as I still haven't heard from the producers."

However four days later, Abdul posted a new update that she was now "trying to work out details" of her new contract but hinted that she was prepared to walk away from the show that revived her if she didn't receive the financial offer she felt she deserved.

"I hope you understand I can only return to [Idol] if the deal is fair," she wrote in a July 30 posting on Twitter.

DioGuardi's ninth-season return was announced on Monday.  American Idol's two other judges -- Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson -- were already under contract for the show's ninth season as part of earlier contract agreements.