American Idol judge Paula Abdul says that her reccent comments in which she criticized the Fox reality competition's decision to include a fourth judge on the show's judging panel were taken out of context and are referred to guest judges on the show's previous seasons, not new eighth-season judge Kara DioGuardi.

"It is unfortunate that a quote of mine was taken completely out of context today," Abdul told Entertainment Tonight before last night's American Idol performance show began. "I was actually referring specifically to the use of 'guest judges' in seasons past, not Kara or this season. I am thrilled to have her by my side each week on American Idol."

Abdul's response came after yesterday's publication of some OK! Weekly interview quotes in which Abdul was critical of how the addition of a fourth judge effected the pacing of the performance shows.

"We tried four judges before and it doesn't work," Abdul told OK! in the magazine's March 9 issue, the New York Post reported yesterday. "It takes up so much time for each of us to give our opinion that it slows down the pace of the show."

DioGuardi -- who Abdul has previously claimed is a good friend -- was subsequently taken aback and hurt by the comments.

"Paula has a right to her opinions, but I was disappointed by her comments, and hurt that she did not address them to me in person," DioGuardi said in a statement to Access Hollywood.

"I am proud of my contributions to the show, and remain excited about the rest of the season," she added.

Abdul's latest fourth judge comments are the latest in a series of flip-flopping statements from Abdul, who had originally said she was "concerned" about the impact DioGuardi would have on the show after Fox announced her addition last August.

"I am concerned about the audience and acceptance. Time will tell. We'll see," Abdul had told Phoenix's 104.7 KISS FM Johnjay & Rich radio show when DioGuardi's addition was first announced.  "They always tried for a fourth judge because it followed the format of the original show, Pop Idol.  We haven't had much luck with that working, but we're gonna give it another try."

Idol had previously tried adding a fourth judge prior to the show's Spring 2003 second season, when New York City DJ Angie Martinez joined Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell before she subsequently quit after only five days on the job.

However one day after her initial comments, Abdul quickly backtracked and insisted that the addition of DioGuardi to the show was a positive.

"This is great for the show," she stated at the time. "I've been waiting for this. I really have. And people will love her. She's great!"