Paula Abdul Is Leaving Idol

Paula Abdul is out. After eight seasons, she confirmed late Tuesday that she is leaving the hit Fox show American Idol.

"With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to Idol," Abdul, 47, Twittered. "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon."

"What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me," she added. "I do, without any doubt, have the BEST fans in the entire world and I love you all."

Her announcement comes weeks after her manager hinted the singer-dancer was leaving the show because there was no contract on the table.

In a statement Tuesday, a Fox TV rep said: "Paula Abdul has been an important part of the American Idol family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show. While Paula will not be continuing with us, she's a tremendous talent and we wish her the best."

Added host Ryan Seacrest (via Twitter): "I am shocked and saddened about Paula." He said he "cant' imagine" a judge's panel without her.

With Abdul's exit, the number of judges returns to three, with Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, who announced Monday she will be returning. Taping begins Thursday.

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