If "American Idol" fans were surprised to hear that Paula Abdul wasn't returning to the show next season, the show's former contestants were possibly even more shocked to find out that she would no longer be sitting at the judges' table.
"I was shocked. I definitely think the show will be different without Paula," season-seven finalist Brooke White told MTV News. "The truth is, we don't spend a lot of time with the judges. However, Paula was the one every elimination show that came backstage to visit with us."
She added that Paula "was truly concerned about our well-being. I think because, on that panel of judges, she was the performer, she was the one who experienced what it was like to be on the front lines, she had the empathy for us. She provided a little softness to the table."
On his radio show Wednesday morning (August 5), "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said he was "bummed" about Abdul's departure, and fellow judge Randy Jackson told EW.com that the news shocked him too. "I am shocked. Paula is a dear friend and will be missed," he said.
Season-eight winner Kris Allen took to his Twitter when he heard the news. "We love you!" he wrote. "Glad I was able to be a part of your last season on the show. You showed us so much love."
Fellow season-eight contestant Danny Gokey also reacted on Twitter. "I'm really sad [to] see Paula Abdul not coming back [to] Idol," he wrote. "She was the judge with the biggest heart! She really will be missed."
And the reaction from Blake Lewis, season six's runner-up, is so melancholy, it seems as if Abdul had died, not passed up a contract renewal. "Paula leaving 'American Idol' is like a honeycomb without the honey," he told Entertainment Weekly. "She brought a sweetness to 'AI' that no one can replace. She will be forever our girl."
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