Following Simon Cowell’s announcement Monday (January 11) that he would be leaving “American Idol” at the end of the season to bring his hit U.K. talent show “The X Factor” to the U.S., rumors began swirling that former “Idol” judge Paula Abdul might join him at the new show’s judges’ table .
When reached for comment, Abdul’s rep told MTV News, “Just spoke with Paula. When the time is right we can have a conversation, and Paula is grateful to you for reaching out.”
Though Abdul’s future with “The X Factor” is unclear, plenty of career speculation has followed the famously upbeat judge since she announced her departure from “Idol” via Twitter on August 5.
That same day, former “Idol” producer and “So You Think You Can Dance” judge and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told TV Guide that he would be inviting Abdul to “Dance,” adding that he’d wanted her on the show for years. “I’ve offered her a judge/choreographer [position] ever since season one, but of course, [Fox] said, ‘No, no, we can’t have her judging “So You Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol,” ‘ ” Lythgoe said. “So now, if she remains free from ‘Idol,’ she’s got no excuse.”
Abdul has yet to materialize on the dance show, though Lythgoe continues to tease a possible Abdul appearance, going so far as to display an empty chair marked with the name “Paul Abdul” during multiple episodes.
ABC President Stephen McPherson continued to stoke rumors a week after the announcement, saying he’d be happy to welcome Abdul to the cast of “Dancing With the Stars.” “We would love to have her on ‘Dancing,’ as a contestant, a participant or a judge. I think she’s a huge talent,” McPherson said. “I think there’s a lot made of her in terms of who she is. … There’s a sensitivity and an emotion to her that balances out ‘Idol,’ and we’d love to have a piece of that.”
Abdul has remained largely mum on the subject of her career plans, though she told TV Guide in late August that a talk show could be one potential avenue . “It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance,” she said of the possible show.
In the wake of her departure, the former pop star has kept busy with several television appearances. In September, Abdul hosted “VH1 Divas,” featuring former “Idol” contestants Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson. During the show’s opening, Abdul reminded the audience where they were, shouting, “This is not ‘American Idol’!” She also parodied her “Idol” replacement , comedian Ellen DeGeneres, donning a blond wig and suit and dancing in DeGeneres’ signature Converse sneakers.
Abdul made a two-episode guest appearance on the Lifetime series “Drop Dead Diva,” playing a fantasy version of herself on the September 13 and October 11 episodes, and also presented at the American Music Awards in November.
Up next, Abdul will appear in the dance documentary “Move,” along with dozens of other Hollywood and Broadway performers, dancers and choreographers, including Debbie Allen, Bebe Neuwirth and Lythgoe.
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