Paula Abdul Announces She's Leaving "American Idol"

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The status of Paula Abdul's American Idol contract has been a hot topic for weeks, but last night the singer put rumors to rest on her Twitter, telling fans directly that after eight seasons, she will not be returning as a judge on Idol. As Rock Daily previously reported, Abdul's manager said Paula's return was unlikely, noting that negotiations had lumbered along to the point that was "unnecessarily hurtful." Still, according to Abdul, in the end it was her own decision not to return to the hit show.

"With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to [Idol]. I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon," Abdul wrote. "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."

(Click here to read Kris Allen, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson's reactions to Abdul's abrupt departure.)

 

The producers of American Idol confirmed Abdul's Tweets, saying in a statement that "Paula Abdul has been an important part of the American Idol family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she's a tremendous talent and we wish her the best."

Abdul had a turbulent tenure at Idol, defending herself against allegations that her loopy behavior was the result of drug abuse and accusations that she had an off-the-show relationship with contestant Corey Clark, who granted ABC's Primetime Live an interview Idol dismissed as untrue. Even though she was erratic at times, Abdul's sincerity for "nurturing all the new talent" was unmistakable, as she'd often tear up when a performance moved her. Contestants often cited her as their favorite judge to work with.

Just last week, Kara DioGuardi, who joined AI last season as a fourth judge, signed a new deal for Season Nine. When DioGuardi first joined AI, it was rumored that the move would eventually result in the departure of Abdul. After DioGuardi reupped, Abdul posted on her Twitter page, "Hi everyone. I've been quiet as we are trying to work out details of how I can return to #Idol." Last season, the judges' table was so cluttered with chatter, the show ran overtime several weeks in a row (notably causing Adam Lambert's performance of "Mad World" to be cut from a live telecast).

Last year, Abdul loudly criticized AI producers after an obsessed fan named Paula Goodspeed was permitted to audition for the show, even though Abdul had had problems with Goodspeed in the past. Goodspeed ultimately died of a drug overdose while parked outside of Abdul's home.

No word whether producers will seek a replacement judge — although Abdul herself previously said she "can't be replaced."

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