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Paula Abdul Surprised By Fourth Judge Hire

Paula Abdul -clearly not happy – says she found out that the producers of American Idol had hired a fourth judge as she was leaving to attend the first round of Idol auditions this year.

Adbul speaks candidly on ABC’s Nightline Thursday night, telling Cynthia McFadden that she and fellow judge Randy Jackson were not consulted about the addition of Kara DioGuardi to the Idol panel.

During the interview, Abdul also says she regrets starring in the reality show “Hey Paula” because it only served to step up rumors

that she was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs, a charge she flatly denies.

Abdul in part blames Cowell for joking that she was drinking alcohol during the broadcasts of American Idol.

“I was beaten down when those rumors took off,” she said. “I wish Simon would have come clean at that time and said, ‘Come on everybody, I was joking.’ Then I would have had a much easier time.”

Abdul said she approached Cowell and asked him to dispel the rumors, but he didn’t, at least not at the time.

“That’s his choice,” she said. “He finally did when it was well and done. He said, ‘I didn’t mean it, I was joking.’ But that was like a year, slightly over a year after, when the damage had been done. For me the true test of strength is how you can come through the fire — how you can overcome adversity.”

Regarding her future on Idol, Adbul said: “This is my last season under
contract. I love the show, I do. I love what I do on the show and I’m loving it more this season than ever. It’s taken me a while to get comfortable in my own skin with the show.”

Cynthia McFadden’s exclusive interview with Abdul airs Thursday night on “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. ET

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