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Randy Jackson "Shocked" Paula Abdul Leaving "Idol"

USMagazine, Wednesday, August 5, 2009, 12:40pm (PDT)

Judge Randy Jackson can't believe Paula Abdul is leaving "American Idol."

"I am shocked," Jackson tells Usmagazine.com in a statement. "Paula is a dear friend and will be missed."

Abdul posted on Twitter late last night that she wouldn't be returning to the FOX hit, which begins taping its ninth season Thursday.

"With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to 'Idol,'" Abdul, 47, Twittered. "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon."

Host Ryan Seacrest -- who just inked a $45 million contract with the show -- posted on Twitter shortly after: "I am shocked and saddened about Paula...Idol and the cast have grown with each other over the last 8 seasons..I can't imagine the panel without Paula. She's a star [and] a great friend."

FOX producers said in a statement: "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."

The New York Times reports Abdul demanded $20 million to remain on the show. The paper reported she earned about $2 million last season.

RELATED LINKS

More on Wonderwall:

Check out how contestants rate on the "American Idol" Success Spectrum

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More on Usmagazine.com:

Look back at Paula's wackiest looks over the years.

See the weight ups and downs of Idol contestants.

See which Idols have gotten married and had babies.

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