It’s been exactly one week since Paula Abdul posted on Twitter that she would not be returning to American Idol for its ninth season. Since her announcement, contract squabbles, the addition of Kara DioGuardi as fourth judge and Abdul’s past criticism of Idol producers have been blamed for the split. According to the New York Times, all those reasons — and a handful more — factored into Abdul’s decision, with sources telling the paper that the pop star was fed up with being a punchline and eager to prove that she could be a success outside of the show. With NBC and ABC reportedly battling it out to secure Abdul’s services, the former judge seems to have proven her detractors wrong.
“Paula didn’t place as much importance on remaining on the show as some other people did,” a person close to Abdul told the NYT. Abdul was earning far less money than her male counterparts, and felt that years of subtle jokes concerning her unreliability, alleged prescription drug addiction and a rumored affair with an AI contestant cost her endorsement deals. One incident in particular riled Abdul, who reportedly blamed her fellow co-stars’ comments for ruining an opportunity with a major clothing designer in 2006.
While Abdul seemed fine on the surface about the casting of Kara DioGuardi as Idol‘s fourth judge, sources tell the Times Abdul took DioGuardi’s addition as a message from producers that Paula was replaceable. Abdul reportedly felt the show’s offer of $5 million per season, half of what she had requested and well less than both Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest, proved the point. Abdul scoffed at the $5 million deal, and while negotiations continued with Abdul’s new manager David Sonenberg, she took matters into her own hands and made her Twitter announcement.