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EXCLUSIVE: All Four Judges Returning to American Idol

Jun. 15 2009, Published 9:35 a.m. ET

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Don't go shopping for a smaller judge's table just yet. has exclusively learned that all four judges - Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi - will be returning to the next season of American Idol.

It was widely speculated that either Paula, whose contract is up, or Kara, who came on during this just-completed Season 8 with just a one-year deal, would not be back for Season 9.  The four-judge format was often problematic for the live show's running time and Abdul, Cowell, and former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe all complained that it slowed down the pacing.

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That's an issue that will be addressed for the next season.  In the meantime, Paula and Kara are still in negotiations on the fine points of their contracts which sources believe will be finalized in the next few weeks.  A formal announcement is still at least a month away.

Auditions for Season nine got underway in Boston June 14.

Click Here to Read About the First Auditions.

(Photo: Fox)


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