First, Jennifer Hudson was voted off American Idol. Then Chris Daughtry. Now another superstar is going home prematurely—Paula Abdul. The show's most beloved judge broke the news to her fans last night on Twitter, announcing that she won't be back on the No. 1 show on TV for its upcoming ninth season. "I'll miss nurturing all the new talent," Paula tweeted, "but most of all being part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon."
What made her jump? Was it that the show didn't offer her enough money, after throwing buckets of cash—$45 million over three years—at Ryan Seacrest? Or was it that Kara DioGuardi, who was brought in last season as a fourth judge, was meant as a replacement for Paula all along? We might never know—until Paula weeps on Oprah's couch. For now, let's pay our respects to Paula. Despite what Simon Cowell thinks, she really was the show's biggest star. A timeline of her ups and downs:
- The summer of 2002: Paula Abdul makes her debut on. America has one question. What the heck is in her red cup?
- January 2005: Paula looks like she's about to fall asleep during Carrie Underwood's first audition.
- April 2005: A 24-year-old contestant, Corey Clark, alleges that he slept with Paula and that she coached him privately at her house. A special panel investigates—did it include Simon Cowell?—and finds Paula not guilty.
- January 2007: Paula appears on a Fox affiliate show slurring her words, giggling and waving her hands in the air ("Good morning, everyone").
- May 2007: Paula is rushed to the hospital right before the finale between Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. She says she fell over her dog Tulip.
- Later that month: An audiotape leaks featuring a weepy Paula yelling and crying at her publicist. "All I've ever wanted in my life is to be treated fairly and with kindness," she says.
- That summer: Paula's reality show,, premieres, featuring Abdul yelling at her assistants (and more tears). Maybe she really is as mean as Simon Cowell.
- April 2008: Paula gives a contestant—Jason Castro—a bad critique based on a song he hasn't even sung yet.
- May 2009: Paula performs! Actually, she lip-syncs her new song. For the first time in the history of the show, Simon Cowell is speechless.
Now without Paula on Idol, will you even tune in to see what he has to say?