After judging contestants for eight years, judge Paula Abdul will not return for Season 9 of American Idol this year. She broke the news on Twitter: “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 1 become an international phenomenon.”
According to numerous sources, the reason she is not returning to the show involves money and contract issues. She was asking for as much as $20 million a year to stay on the show, and it looks like the two sides could not come to an agreement. At least she is leaving the show with an untarnished image, right? Uh, not so much. Over the years, Abdul has been criticized for her unusual behavior and her supposed relationship with one of the show’s contestants. Her quirkiness, drunken states of mind, unpredictability, and memorable interactions with co-judge Simon Cowell were definite crowd pleasers, and I am curious to see if ratings will continue to skyrocket without Abdul drinking rum and coke in between takes. For now, Cowell, Jackson, and DioGuardi remain the current judges, and Ryan Seacrest will continue to host.