Paula Abdul got the rumor mill started over the Summer with whispers that she may leave American Idol for good. Kara DioGuardi's fate was also up in the air, since neither of the female judges were under contract for season nine. As the clock ticked away and we drew steadily closer to the next round of auditions, Kara eventually came around but Paula's contract remained unconfirmed. Finally, in the 11th hour, Paula took to her Twitter to make it official: she would not be returning to American Idol.
Paula's announcement instantly started a frenzy and raised plenty of questions. Would Idol find a replacement? If so, who would it be? What would happen during auditions? And why did Paula quit?
To recap what else went down and what we can expect to see when the show returns in January, just
Fox quickly started damage control, announcing that Paula would be replaced with a string of celebrity judges during Idol auditions. Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry were among the first to sign on, later followed by Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Chenoweth, Avril Lavigne, and others. But who would fill Paula's shoes once the show headed to Hollywood?
Though most of you initially didn't think Paula should be replaced, Fox found a new personality to step in — Ellen DeGeneres. Not only will DeGeneres commit for season nine, but she's already signed a five-year contract with the show. Most of you are excited to have Ellen on board, and though I'll miss Paula, I'm looking forward to hearing a new voice at the judges' table (maybe she can even drown out Kara a little).
As for Paula, apparently she quit because she wanted more money but showed no hard feelings towards the show's newest judge. She sent her well-wishes to Ellen and took on hosting duties for VH1's Divas Live. There's also been rumblings of Paula making an appearance on So You Think You Can Dance, and though Nigel Lythgoe gave her the thumbs up, she has yet to make an appearance.
I can't wait to see how the changes will shape the new season next month, and I'm especially looking forward to the celebrity judges giving their opinions during the auditions. Will you tune in to see if Ellen can fill Paula's shoes?
Don't forget to check out all of my Best of 2009 coverage as we inch closer to a new year and a new decade!
Photo courtesy of Fox