Auditions begin next week for Season 9 of American Idol, but Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson will be missing their judging sidekick: Paula Abdul confirmed late Tuesday that she would not return to the show. A salary dispute is said to be behind her departure. The Los Angeles Times reports that Abdul wanted $10 million—what host Ryan Seacrest got when he recently signed a new contract—a significant step up from the $2 million to $4 million a year she’d been earning. “I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day1 become an international phenomenon," Abdul Twittered Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the companies that produce AI called her “a tremendous talent and we wish her the best.” Fans of the reality juggernaut will have to make do with Simon, Randy, and Kara DioGuardi, who has judged one season of the show and whose option was picked up Monday.
DEPARTURES Jason Merritt / Getty Images