"We look down the table sometimes and think, 'Where's Paula,'" Jackson, 53, told reporters during a Friday conference call. "It takes a little getting used to and we're really sad about that, but welcoming Ellen [DeGeneres] to the fold… She's funny, she's charismatic, she's really cool."
"I think we’re going to have a very funny, interesting season ahead of us," Jackson continued of the show, which kicks off its 9th season Tuesday. "There’s gonna be a lot of laughs."
What to expect this year from the contestants?
"I think there's some really talented girls that showed up this time," he said.
Jackson dodged questions about Abdul appearing as a judge on X Factor, the UK British reality show Cowell is leaving Idol to launch.
"I know she's going to be back on something in a huge way because she's mad talented," Jackson hinted. "The thing I always say about this genre, especially in the music entertainment side, is expect the unexpected. You never know!"
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