Paula Abdul Announces She's Leaving "American Idol"

August 5, 2009 9:01 AM ET

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."

Related Stories:
Abdul Twitters About "Idol" Status, DioGuardi Reportedly Returning
Paula Abdul's Return to "American Idol" Unlikely, Manager Says
Paula Abdul Says She Can't Be Replaced on "American Idol"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »