We’ve heard from Paula Abdul’s manager , the show-runners for “American Idol” and friends and fans of the former “Idol” judge. But except for the Tweet Heard ‘Round the World earlier this month announcing her departure from “Idol,” the world had not actually heard from Abdul herself — until Monday (August 31).
“You know, to say ‘no regrets’ isn’t easy,” Abdul told TV Guide about leaving her longtime home at “Idol” over a salary dispute. “I feel like I have been such a big, huge part of the success of the show from day one. I loved being able to be the artist’s artist; being there from my point of view of knowing what it feels like to be vulnerable and to be out there wanting to achieve the most magical moment in a minute and 30 seconds. To be able to do that was an amazing experience, and the show was wonderful for me in that regard.”
While Abdul would not discuss the specifics behind why she left the show, after being reminded that frequent tormentor/ friend/ fellow judge Simon Cowell said last April he would never want to do the show without Abdul, the choreographer/singer said, “I had to stand on my principle. … I’m going to miss them. And I’m going to miss the experience of watching young talent evolve into a place where they get to take off and soar.” Abdul said she still speaks to Cowell and some of the past contestants and that she’ll watch the upcoming season — which kicks off in January — “as much as I can.”
But when asked if there’s anything “Idol” producers could do to get her back on the show, Abdul said, “That’s a hard question to answer right now. I mean, I don’t think I can answer that right now.” She denied, however, that the dispute that led to her departure was just about money. “I stand on principle where many people stand on money,” said Abdul, who was reportedly looking for a bump up to around $10 million a year from $2 million or $3 million. “I’m a hardworking artist. I’ve lasted in this business for 23 years. And you can’t do that unless you are good at what you do. I believe in myself, and you have to have your own self-respect. And sometimes decisions are very difficult to make, but I’ve always believed that at the core, I’m a survivor. There’s not one thing I’ve done that I’ve really set my mind to that I’ve failed at.” Although we know she will host “VH1 Divas” on September 17, Abdul’s manager has not returned repeated calls from MTV News requesting information on what else is next for her.
What might be next for Abdul is a talk show, which she promised would be “different,” though she avoided specifics since no deal has been signed yet. “I’d be Paula,” she promised. “It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance.” Abdul also (kind of) clarified why one gig, a guest-starring role on “Ugly Betty” that was announced shortly after the “Idol” news broke, fell through. She said the spot was announced before her managers knew about it, but she’d love to give it another shot “when the time is right.”
One thing Abdul is definitely doing is a two-episode arc on Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva,” the series about a dead model whose soul comes back inside the body of a plus-size lawyer. In a bit of a stretch, she will play a fantasy version of herself, “Judge Paula Abdul,” in what she described as a scenario similar to what she did on “Idol,” i.e. rooting on another character to go for it.
“There’s a similarity to what I did [on 'Idol'] but expands it to everything I want to do,” she explained of the two-episode stint that airs September 13 and October 11. “It’s really tongue-in-cheek and allows me to just go for it. When I saw the pilot, I’d never gone through such a full gamut of emotions — from feeling sad for someone and then feeling so thrilled for them, and in between that there’s hysterical writing. It’s such a charmed show that when I saw it I said, ‘I’m in!’ ”
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.