Though it's the final year of Paula Abdul's contract with American Idol and there are plenty of rumors that she's been sparring off-screen with the show's new judge, Kara DioGuardi, Abdul told Nightline DioGuardi will not replace her at season's end — because she's practically irreplaceable. "Whenever there is change it's not about replacing anybody. It's about possibly moving on," Abdul told ABC's Cynthia McFadden, adding that she hasn't thought about leaving the show just yet. "I love the show, I do. I love what I do on the show, and I'm loving it more this season than ever."
Abdul did admit that DioGuardi's addition came as a last-minute surprise to both her and fellow judge Randy Jackson, as both were "informed" and not consulted about the decision. "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," Abdul said. "We've had guest judges come in before, and he banned that from happening anymore." As for the rumored tension between the two females judges. "None, seriously," Abdul told Nightline. The full interview airs April 23rd.
Also in the interview, Abdul vehemently denies abusing prescription drugs or getting drunk before showtime, calls Simon Cowell a "masterful bully" that made her quit seven times during the first season and says her Hey Paula reality show that busted her napping all the time was an inaccurate portrayal of her life (Rob Sheffield has a few comments about that show in his Ruined By Reality TV). Still, Abdul never answered the question whether or not she'll still be at the judge's table for Season Nine, but Abdul probably didn't help contract negotiations when she criticized judges for allowing a stalking fan to audition in front of her.
• "American Idol" Brings Back Quentin Tarantino as Singers Tackle Movie Tunes
• New "American Idol" Judge Kara DioGuardi Talks Season 8: "The Males Were The Strongest"
• Paula Abdul Criticizes "American Idol" Producers For Allowing Stalker To Audition