'American Idol': Paula Abdul talks Nigel's return, Randy's future

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Paula Abdul seemed to dodge a bullet leaving "American Idol" when she did. Regardless of what you thought of her departure, it wasn't nearly as awkward as the current judging panel limbo. And having missed the season the series is trying to distance itself from, she's even been considered for a possible return.

The former judge gives TV Guide her take on all of the big "Idol" changes -- rumored and otherwise. "I have the utmost respect for Nigel," Abdul says of returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. "Him going back to 'American Idol' is in many ways a very big blessing. He's a wonderful producer and I'm taken by the kind words he had to say."

Just the other day Lythgoe reaffirmed his long public stance on Paula's place on the series, saying he'd have her back "in a heartbeat" if her current contract with CBS's upcoming "Got to Dance" doesn't interfere.

Abdul doesn't say whether or not she'd go back to her old series, but she makes it clear that its not a bridge she's ever likely to burn. "I'll always be a fan of the show," she says. "To be part of something from the very beginning that grew into such a worldwide phenomenon is really awe-inspiring."

And what about all the drama? Abdul is most definitely on Team Randy. "I think it's important for people to have familiarity with someone. I haven't been able to ask Randy what it feels like, because it's not the time to ask him. Randy is a great guy -- he really is."

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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