August 5th, 2009
12:19 AM ET

Paula Abdul leaving "American Idol"

It's official: Paula Abdul, the occasionally loopy judge who spent eight seasons lauding "American Idol" contestants even as fellow judge Simon Cowell tore them apart, won't be back in January for season nine.  And to hear the show - and Abdul - tell it, it's her call.  Here's the statement from FOX, FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment:

"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."

And here are Abdul's tweets, for that handful of fans not checking her Twitter activity every five minutes:

"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..."

"I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day1 become an international phenomenon."

"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"

So what had been rumored seemingly forever - especially since Kara DiGuardi joined the judges' table - has finally come to pass.  How do you feel about it, "Idol" fans?

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. HG

    It’s a shame. I am not a big Paula Abdul fan but to me she was the only fair and on stage experienced American Idol judge among the judges. When I look at the recorded shows that I have, she is the only one that can not be replaced. Without her and even with Ellen, who I have enjoyed her show very much whenever I have watched it, the quality of the show is going to drop enormously. Therefore, after trying not to miss even one episode all these years, I am not going to watch the show any longer.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ellen

    I knew that american would sooner or later make a big mistake and letting paula go will be the end of the show. why would they make such a big mistake and over money thats very sad as much money as that show brings in. I won't be watching anymore. you know that old saying if it ain't broke leave it alone
    and the worse thing is they picked ellen if anyone of use went around acting like ellen they would lock us up thinking something is wronge with your head and then this women gets paid for acting like a CRAZY FOOL big mistake american Idol. well it was nice while it last but you know all good thing will come to an END and for EMMY who wrote the comment about paula's speech have you ever seen Ellen spread her legs over a table and walk over it please give me a break when they took her show off tv before they should have left it that way I watched part of her show and thought that something is very wronge with her and for paula she takes medication that makes her speech off from time to time lets hope someone never put you on medication and people speak of you like that but Ellen is a grown women acting like she is 5 years old give me a break if you had a daughter going around acting like ellen you would slap her in the back of head and tell her to straighten up. at least paula is a lady and she is kind hearted and she bring harmony and balance with the other judges it was a perfect team

    September 10, 2009 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. moochie

    Paula's the spice in the mix. It's discriminatory and sexist and insulting what's she's been offered compared to the others...Are the guys better judges? Good chemistry among players is hard to come by, but when you have it, do all that you can to keep it and nuture it..that's what keeps the audience coming back. When the 4th judge was added I knew that Idol fingers were messing with a good thing and it signified the beginning of the end of a good thing. You break a good mix and you break the show. Fox you are disloyal to your workers (Paula) and your fans. You are an insult!!! Give her comparable salary!!!

    August 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. zenith

    Lose Ryan. He's no big deal. Keep Paula and give her more money. Simon/Paula – good together. Randy is my dog! Keep him. Those three are a good panel and entertaining. But the Simon/Paula drama can't end. It has to go on forever and ever. GIVE PAULA MORE MONEY!

    August 16, 2009 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gail

    Paula, Is the only one of those judges who has done what these kids want to do. She worked her way up, had a contract signed, had hit songs, hit video, and suffered the come down. How can idol NOT have her and how can they pay that obnoxious full of himself idol staffer, Ryan more than her. Have they paid attention to the first law that Obama put into action? Pay women equal to me.

    Idol management come into the next century.

    August 11, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Denver

    Since its the public who vote (??) – WE VOTE FOR PAULA TO COMEBACK!

    August 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Denver

    We will stop watching and tivo American Idol. No Paula.

    For that matter no Simon and Paula = NO IDOL.

    Kara – not for idol.

    Posh= cold

    Why change a good team when it worked for so many seasons?

    August 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. laura

    There are 2 reasons we watch American Idol. The new undiscovered talent, and the judges responses. The interplay between Paul and Simon changes daily and you never know what to expect. Are they going to agree today? When they are at odds it is amusing to watch them one up the other. When they agree, they are sweet and humorous.

    We knew something was afoot when Kara came on board, but hoped they would not mess with the dynamics of a show that worked. The show has been a huge success, and Paula is a big draw. She always tries to offer the contestant something positive. Some days she is more giddy than others, well... some days Simon is more critical than others. American Idol makes a fortune, as do many of the other hosts and judges. So what? American Idol is making a fortune, and there is plenty of dough to give Paula enough money to coax her into staying.

    We want American Idol to try harder to keep Paula on baord.

    August 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter

    It's too bad that Paul won't return, I really liked her. Don't take it out on Kara DioGuardi though (it's Kara, not Cara, and DioGuardi, not Diguardi, by the way). She is a highly accomplished and successful songwriter and producer – as well as a more than decent singer in her own right. Her songs have sold hundreds of millions of CDs around the world and she is very sought after by all the major superstar artists and labels. She actually knows a thing or two about singing and songwriting (by contrast to, perhaps, Ryan Seacrest). The show is about singing and artist development, it's not a contest of who is cutest or funniest judge.

    August 9, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Caryn Gottfried

    I have been an avid American Idol watcher for years. Paula is the heart and soul of the show, warm, compassionate and encouraging to the contestants. Her softer energy is vitally needed to counter balance Simon's harshness (even though his statements are often true). Without Paula, there is no American Idol. I will not watch another season.

    August 9, 2009 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. idol fan 67

    I almost quit watching after the Daughtry thing but hung in there. Not signing Paula is it for me. She was the light. She showed compassion and she generally cared about the contestants. I guess I will find out what I have been missing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on TV!

    August 8, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary L

    American Idol has a formula: The Fab Four: Simon, Randy, Paula, and Ryan. Take away one today, they can take away another tomorrow! Kara is awful. No one likes her. I have watched every show, but I am done now. American Idol has no loyalty to their judges or their fans; I have no loyalty to the show.

    August 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. beth

    I'm 60 and love American Idol, but will not watch it if Paula is gone. I think she and Simon are the heart of the show. How about Ryan giving some of his huge raise to her? How sad, I work full time and barely get by yet this nonsense over MILLIONS.....

    August 7, 2009 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tina

    Also, I don't like the new judge.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tina

    I will probably stop watching the show. Fox should have paid her more money.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  16. shelly

    This is the most sexist thing, typical hollywood. I will never watch Idol again. All women should protest Idol!

    August 7, 2009 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  17. vinnie


    August 7, 2009 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  18. LadyDiFlorida

    Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry. They put a big dent in that chemistry when they hired Kara & it spoiled the flow of the show. I watched a lot less last year & I probably won't watch this year. It's too bad that greed rules the airwaves... if they can pay 45 million to Ryan for doing nothing & adding nothing to the show, how in the world could the head honchos not keep Paula!! Whaadda thinking! Fire Ryan & give his salary to Paula-easy resolution & everyone is happy & the show will still be a success. Sorry Kara, but you are just soooo boring & irritating & are just so full of yourself-it's a real turnoff for all of us. Anyway, Paula we'll truly miss you & only you could keep Simon on the right path.........

    August 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Cheryl AleXandria Bielich

    I am sorry to see Paula go. I have watched this show from day one tho it's time to say goodbye. I won't be watching anymore. I don't like Kara, and Randy is an idiot and Simon is rude. I only stayed because Paula always had nice things to say to everyone.
    There are way too many other good shows on now with people like Paula. Tho not at fox.

    August 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Nancy McClain

    I have never taken the time to comment on any polls, but this is an injustice to Paula, to the contestants and to the fans. Whoever is doing the thinking and planning for American Idol needs to back up and listen to the fans! The show will not be the same without Paula!! Gone will be the sweet, smart, compassionate, and sometimes funny Judge, and gone will be this fan. No more Idol for me unless Paula is brought back.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  21. GLS

    Nothing against Paula, but the show will be stronger and more professional without her.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Shell

    Bring Paula back!!! She is my favorite judge and a sweet lady. They could have saved $$ by not having Kara back. Kara did not add anything to the show. BRING PAULA BACK!!!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Sonia Anway

    They waited long enough to offer Paula a new contract .I don't blame her for being offended, the show will not be the same without Paula and I'm not planning on watching American Idol ever again .

    August 6, 2009 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  24. D

    Idol was a hit inspite of her, not because of her. Glad to see her go.

    August 6, 2009 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  25. Iris

    You are all SICK if you don't bring Paula back. She is AWESOME on the show. She really is wonderful to the contestants. Love to watch her and Simon they bring alot of personality to the show. BRING PAULA BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2009 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  26. DR

    Fox has made enough money from Idol to pay up for Paula – do they really think people are entertained by Ryan? Paula and Simon make 'Idol' – their charisma and personalities make it happen. Kara is just plain annoying. Huge mistake for Fox to let the show get to this low point.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Emmy

    I can't beleive everyone is so upset by Paula leaving the show, I thought she was the most worthless of all the judges, I think it was time for her to go. She always stumbled through her judgements, never said anything constructive, and only commented on how great the contestants looked. Kara, who is pretty big in the music industry behind the scenes is a much better judge for a contest like this and can offer the kind of advice that they need. People are just afraid of change, however I do agree that the show doesn't have many more seasons left. Simon is starting to look bored and if he goes, the show will be done.

    August 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Madge

    We started watching the show with some regularity about 5 years ago, when our daughter was nearly 5. At first, we laughed at Paula's antics, and dopey comments. But as the years have gone on, it has become increasingly difficult to explain Paula's comments, mannerisms, and actions to our daughter. Paula's drug/alcohol usage has impaired dramatically her performance on the show, and raises vexing questions for parents while they watch a 'family' show. With that I am glad she is gone, and can only hope that she will get some professional help.

    August 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Madeline from Atlanta

    The show will not be the same with out Paula. There is no comparison between Paula and Kara DiGuardi. Paula is genuine...

    August 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Ethan

    They made a huge mistake by not getting Paula to stay. I will never watch Idol again. I just wont be the same Paula was real and was always the sunshine on the show. The new girl should have been off the show she sucks. They could have got rid of Ryan I sure don't watch the show for him.

    August 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Aaron

    I am completely disgusted with Idol. If it wasn't for Paula I never would have started to watch. An end of an era. BYE BYE IDOL! wish you the best Paula!

    August 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Doris Gardner

    Can't believe at any price you would let Paula leave the American Idol. I can never be the same

    August 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Jane


    August 5, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  34. anita

    It will not be the same! Bring her back!

    August 5, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  35. kurt a stein

    She has made a choice. If there is a "dark side" to this...let it be. (Right?). We are sure to here a litany of reasons why she left, most will be wrong? To those who formed a connection – grief in her departure. Do not turn the grieving into a platform of anger in which tearing down the remaining female judge as though it was her fault. Ms. Abdul made a choice. The transition will have its challanges, yet, the show will go on! It is after all, how this thing of theirs works. Be well Paula.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  36. HoneyBee

    That is it for me and Fox corporation.
    I agree with most people here. It's the end of the show. Fox and Idol producers are willing to pay others millions of dollars but they would not pay Paula. Whoever did the research for Fox got it wrong. Viewers love Paula and with all her craziness. She balanced out with Simon and Randy very well. I thought that was what made the show a success.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  37. Sarah Lopez

    This is the beginning of the end for the show, I fear. Especially with Simon saying he may not be back after this season. He's said over and over he didn't want to do the show without Paula. If this is due to the terms the execs offered to Paula, they have just made a HUGE blunder. Paula was an indispensable part of the show.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  38. Myrna

    I am so sorry that Paula is leaving American Idol. She is beautiful, intelligent and very accomplished in her own right. Cara, not so much! I get tired of listening to Cara and I will no longer watch American Idol.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  39. Louise

    Paula was a big part of the unique dynamic between the three judges. It was like the 3 Stoges or the 3 Musketeers. I can't imagine two with out the other. Fox – Big Mistake.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  40. Maggie

    One of the reasons I watch the show is to watch Paula and Simon. I get tired of listening to Kara talk and find her irritating. Paula is a big part of the show and not having her return will hurt the show. She will be missed.

    August 5, 2009 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  41. Carlos

    I will no longer watch American Idol.....we'll miss you Paula!!!.....great job over the years!.....take a long well deserved vacation girl!

    August 5, 2009 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  42. Norma

    Very sad to see Paula leaving the show for money problems.

    I still can't believe they pay the robotic, fake Ryan Seacrest 45 million for a 3 year contract, and let go Paula.

    She was the compassionate, encouraging judge that contestants needed. Can you imagine being for the first time in front of thousands or millions of people judging you, and nobody offering a little bit of compassion?
    Well, American Idol is going to change this year, and they will be sorry for the mistake of changing Paula for that other one...

    August 5, 2009 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  43. Peggy

    I agree that Paula leaving will begin a downward spiral of American Idol. Paula helped make the show what it is today. Producers should have tried to keep her. Kara is good, but she was not the one that helped make American Idol what it is today. They better open their wallets and get Paula to stay. We are with you, Paula.

    August 5, 2009 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  44. Fuse X

    I stopped watching American Idol during the second week of last season. They changed the format of the show and I just didn't find it enjoyable anymore. Less funny, less interesting, less entertaining. With Paula leaving, the show takes another big hit. She was an integral part of the four main personalities on the show. Namely, SImon, Paula, Randy and Ryan. Other personalities past and present are quite less interesting. Goodbye Idol! It was fun for a while.

    August 5, 2009 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  45. Dan

    Not sure I can watch anymore, I can't stand the new girl. There is no loyalty any more. How much does Idol make in a year? How much have they made since the beginning? They underestimate the importance of Paula to the equation. This is the beginning of the end, the chemistry is gone.

    August 5, 2009 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  46. Dave

    Very sad indeed. Paula was a MAJOR part of the show and a big reason why many people watch Idol. I am not "in the business" but it doesnt take someone in it to use common sense.

    Remember how Who wants to be a millionaire was the talk of the town and everyone watched it? Well when Regis left the show....the show fizzled out........I fear the same for Idol.

    If I were whoever writes the checks for Idol....I would divy up a sum to get Paula to stay.

    Idol needs her, the contestants need her, but most of all.......the fans need her too.


    August 5, 2009 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  47. jd

    sorry to see paula go ,,, in a way... no malice intended but paula needs to tend to her health... its became so irritating listening to her . she has some sort of speech problem, that seem to have happen over the years. her speech is irratic , stuttered, and slurred,i mean i have to mute her out when she was judging. she'll make a fortune with her shopping channel jewelry.. god bless paula

    August 5, 2009 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |

    what goes around comes around, this is the end of american idol
    paula was the star of the show, not Simon not secrest but Paula
    watch it go down the tubes. the compassion of the show has been silenced by money. but that's ok, i knew it when they hired that bimbo
    flashing her body to get attention, i wonder what else shes done to get her little spot on american idol.

    August 5, 2009 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |

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