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Fox recently announced the ninth season of America Idol will premiere on Tuesday, January 12 at 8pm ET/PT. The season will premiere for two consecutive nights with a two-hour broadcast on Tuesday and a one-hour broadcast on Wednesday, January 13 at 8PM ET/PT.

The new season will feature the addition of Ellen DeGeneres as a replacement for Paula Abdul. Paula served as AI judge since the show began in 2002 and reportedly rejected a $5 million per year income and later announced her exit from Idol in August. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi will be returning as judges while Ryan Seacrest will continue as host.

The auditions for American Idol took place over the summer and featured several guest judges in Paula’s spot including Victoria Beckham in Denver and Boston, Mary J. Blige in Atlanta, Joe Jonas and Neil Patrick Harris in Dallas, Kristin Chenoweth in Orlando, Shania Twain in Chicago, and Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne in Los Angeles.

In other Idol news, Kris Allen’s self titled album dropped at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling only 80,000 copies during its week of release, according to Nielsen Soundscan data. This is the lowest of any idol winner ever recorded. Before Kris, Jordin Sparks, sixth season winner previously held the record for lowest album sales and sold 119,000 copies in first week release in November 2007.

Those figures are especially low compared to the 198,000 albums sold by runner up, Adam Lambert, who has remained in the headlines due to his recent raunchy performance at the American Music Awards.

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Ellen DeGeneres has yet to begin her stint as a new judge American Idol, but fellow judge – Kara DioGuardi is already singing her praises.

“I think it’s a genius decision,” says Kara, who joined AI last season, at the Entertainment Tonight/PEOPLE Emmy after-party. “I wish I had thought of it.”

Kara says she’s looking forward to the new dynamic on the show now that Ellen is replacing Paula Abdul as the show’s “nice” judge.

“I know a little bit about Ellen from watching her show and I would say she would probably be somebody who would be fair in her criticism and will try to be as supportive as she possibly could,” said Kara, 38. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

And does she think Ellen will get along well with the other judges? “[Ellen will get along with everyone] 100 percent,” she said. “I was on her show once and she’s lovely, generous, very kind. I think it’s going to be great.”

Not surprising to hear Kara speak so fondly of having a new judge. It has been reported in the past that she and Paula did not get along on the show.

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Ellen DeGeneres has been tapped to replace Paula Abdul as the fourth judge on American Idol, Fox announced Wednesday night in a statement.

“DeGeneres will sit alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi and offer her own unique perspective to the contestants throughout the competition,” Fox television says.

Ellen, 51, will begin her stint after the audition rounds, which will feature a rotating group of celebrity guest judges including Shania Twain, Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Joe Jonas and Kristin Chenoweth.

Ellen also confirmed the announcement at her talk show taping Wednesday, “I’m going to have a day job and a night job,” assuring her audience that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will continue. “This is so exciting for me.”

Former judge, Paula Abdul, abruptly announced she would not be returning to the show on her Twitter page back in August. It is said to have been due to contract negotiations. Paula felt she deserved more money than what AI was offering.

American Idol’s ninth season kicks off January 2010.

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The ninth season of American Idol will premiere in January 2010 without Paula Abdul. American Idol isn’t the same without Paula Abdul, says Simon Cowell.

Simon, 49, tells Extra the show is now “different. It’s like comparing a carrot to a banana… They are different.”

On the ninth season, judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi return – along with celebrity guest judges, including Victoria Beckham, Shania Twain, Mary J. Blige and Katy Perry.

Simon says, he doesn’t want to “get in the middle” of Idol execs and Paula but definitely misses her being on the show. He also believes Paula will always be able to find work.

So what’s next for Paula?

“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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Even though Paula Abdul is leaving the show, American Idol will still have four judges, Fox chairman Peter Rice told the FOX Television Critics Association on Thursday.

“There is going to be a search,” he said. The search is for a permanent replacement, while there will be guest judges taking her place during the auditions.

According to Peter, the producers “were hoping” Abdul would come back. “We love Paula. She’s been a really wonderful part of the show for eight years.”

Sources say that Paula asked for a $20 million deal which producers were unwilling to meet. She also rejected a thirty percent raise.

According to FOX, guest judges including Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi in the seven weeks of audition rounds, which starts Friday in Denver.

“We’ll have these guest judges do one week each during the audition [period]… there is no thought right now that any of these judges will be long term judge for us,” Rice said. “All of the people we are talking to have successful careers. I don’t even think they’d be available to judge full-time. We have now until January to introduce a new energy to the panel.”

There are also rumors that Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta is being considered as a judge, but those are simply rumors for now.

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Speculations over Paula Abdul’s return to American Idol can finally be put to rest as she will not be returning as judge on American Idol, reports PEOPLE.

 “With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to Idol,” Abdul, 47, writes on her Twitter page. “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.”

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

Paula’s reps have refused to comment except provide a confirmation that she is leaving. The show will begin taping for the 9th season, with auditions starting in Denver. 

FOX TV also released a statement saying, “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.”

With Paula gone, the three other judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi will return.

Tell us: Are you going to keep watching AI without Paula?

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American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi weds contractor boyfriend, Mike McCuddy after dating for a year and a half in Prospect Harbor, Maine, according to Usmagazine.com. McCuddy proposed on Dec. 8, 2008 on DioGuardi’s 38th birthday.

The ceremony was attended by very close friends and family members. There were no idol judges present. “They are absolutely in love with each other,” Pastor Nurse tells Us. “When I told him he could kiss the bride, everybody cheered. It was a very close, small family-type service.”

The newly married AI judge will return for season nine of American idol with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest later this summer.

Among DioGuardi’s hits have been “I Do Not Hook Up,” with Kelly Clarkson; “Ain’t No Other Man,” with Christina Aguilera; and “Pieces of Me,” with Ashlee Simspon-Wentz. DioGuardi, a talented songwriter is expected to work with Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town in August.

idol_02-judges-wall_0045_1 It seems all four American Idol judges will be returning for season 9 after all. According to RadarOnline.com, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi will be returning to the next season of American Idol despite initial rumors surrounding the show.

Since Abdul’s contract was up, there were speculations of her not returning to the show and that Kara may not return since she only signed a one year contract. Having four judges seemed to be problematic for the live show because it slowed down the pacing says Abdul and Cowell.

Timing issues will be addressed on the next season. At the moment, Abdul and Dioguardi are still in negotiations though sources believe the contracts will be finalized in a few weeks. Sources also believe a formal announcement will be made in a few weeks.

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