After eight seasons as a judge on the nation’s most watched show, FOX’s “American Idol,” Paula Abdul is not returning for Season 9. After it was announced last week that Kara DioGuardi, a rookie this past season, would be returning next season, Abdul’s sudden departure is not a huge surprise considering that many thought it was awkward at times having four judges. And as you might suspect, the bottom line was her contract. Abdul was making $4 million per year and was seeking in the neighborhood of $12 million, but she was only offered a 30% increase, or about $1.2 million.

FOX issued this statement today: “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.”

Let’s face it, Paula’s antics were both entertaining and disturbing at times, and she sometimes rambled on for far too long when giving contestants feedback. And while ultimately this is probably good for the show, let’s face it… Paula was part of the fabric of the show and in some weird way, we’re all going to miss her.