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American Idol isn't the same without Paula Abdul, says Simon Cowell.

On the Fox show's upcoming ninth season, judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi return - along with celeb guest judges, including Victoria Beckham, Shania Twain and Katy Perry.

Cowell, 49, tells Extra the show is now "different. It's like comparing a carrot to a banana."

Though the judge says he doesn't want to "get in the middle" of Idol execs and Abdul, 47, he says, "I miss her."

He adds that Abdul - who denied to TV Guide that she left the show over money - is "someone who will always work."

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So what's next for Abdul?

"I definitely want to do a talk show because it would be different," says Abdul, who has shot a guest role on Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva and will host VH1's Divas Live Sept. 17. "It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance."

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