Paula Abdul Speaks: ‘I'm Never Going To Change Who I Am At The Core'

Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry to guest host "Idol"

Since announcing her exit from "American Idol," Paula Abdul has been in high demand.

"At this point, there are so many wonderful things that are being offered to me," Abdul said. "And I got to take a deep breath, sleep a little … and go through everything."

Abdul called The Associated Press Thursday evening during a break in taping her guest appearance on Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva." Earlier this week, she announced she was leaving "American Idol" after eight seasons as a judge on the popular Fox singing show.

In her telephone interview with the AP, Abdul would not discuss details about her "Idol" exit and would not say if the door to negotiations was still open or what it would take to get her to return to the show.

Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice was asked Thursday what the network would do if Abdul sought to reopen negotiations. Rice replied: "I have no expectation that Paula's going to do that. And in terms of the negotiations themselves, the negotiations have concluded."

When asked following a meeting of the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif., what Fox's reaction would be if Abdul agreed to take the network's last offer, Rice replied he didn't expect her to.

The offer is for a multiyear, eight-figure deal that represents a 30 percent increase for Abdul, according to a person familiar with the talks. The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, asked not to be identified.

"My understanding is that her only issue is money," Rice said.

"It's something that's very saddening to us," he said about Abdul's departure.

Among possibilities for Abdul's post-"Idol" career is "So You Think You Can Dance." Nigel Lythgoe, former "American Idol" producer and executive producer and judge with the Fox dance competition, has expressed interest in Abdul appearing on the show.

"I am not going to rule that out," she said. "I'm a dancer, a choreographer. Dance is a love of mine. But I have yet to sit down and discuss anything with anyone. It's all happening within the next couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, Abdul raved about working on "Drop Dead Diva." She plays a "real judge" in the Lifetime dramedy, starring Brooke Elliott as a plus-size lawyer. As was her role on "Idol," Abdul's character provides encouragement — this time, for Elliott's alter ego, Jane, rather than aspiring pop stars.

"I'm good at that," Abdul said. "I think I've been good at that since I was a little girl. Just rooting people on and trying to get people to remember to believe in themselves."

On Thursday, she was on set in Peachtree City, Ga. Her episodesair Sept. 13 and Oct. 11.

Will this be a recurring role?

"I hope! You know, this is exactly what life's about — working with people you absolutely love working with," she said.

With Abdul gone, female pop stars will serve as guest judges on "Idol" for the seven-week audition process set to begin Friday in Denver. Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry the first to be announced by Fox.

Original judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson are returning for the ninth season, which starts next January, and will be joined for a second year by Kara DioGuardi.

"It's insane right now. … It's been a lovely experience and the thing that is the most charming and the most heartfelt that makes my heart swell is the outpouring of love that people showed towards me," said Abdul. "And it's overwhelming and it's beautiful.

"And I got to tell you, I'm never going to change who I am at the core. I'm a hard worker, I love working hard and nothing gives me more joy than to be on a project and working with people who are trying to achieve the same goal. And that's where I'm at right now."

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