Paula Abdul Talks New Dance Show, “Idol” Judges

Paula Abdul, a former original member of the "American Idol" judges' panel, left the hit FOX reality singing competition in 2008 after a rumored salary dispute. However, the singer turned producer harbors no ill will toward the show which she helped launch, and now she's sharing her thoughts on the show's new judges and her old sparring partner, Simon Cowell.

"I'm a big fan of ["American Idol], and I always will be a big fan," Paula told Access on Thursday, at a junket for her new CBS show, "Live to Dance." I'm very grateful for the amazing time that I spent on that show."

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Paula is still in contact with her "Idol" friend, Simon Cowell, who celebrated his 51st birthday last week.

"He looks very good for being 70," she joked. "Very good!"

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As for "Idol's" new judges, rocker Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, and singer/dancer/actress Jennifer Lopez, Paula says that even if they only experience a percentage of the good times she experienced, they're in for an incredible adventure.

"I wish nothing but success for Steven and J.Lo and I'm really proud and happy that Randy [Jackson] is at the helm," she told Access. "This is [Randy's] show now and he gets to kind of be the voice.

"I hope [the new judges] have half the experience that I had, because it was wonderful," she added.

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Paula is a "big fan" of talent shows and describes them as "brilliant avenues" for discovering new talent.

"There's never a shortage of raw untapped talent out there," she said. "You just have to go out and find it."

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Paula will wear multiple hats when her CBS dance competition debuts next year. The "Straight Up" singer will act as creative partner, executive producer and "lead expert" on a panel of experts that also includes Travis Payne (who choreographed Michael Jackson's "This Is It" production, as well as Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour), and former Pussycat Doll singer-dancer Kimberly Wyatt.

"We're going to be a kick-ass team that's going to help mentor these amazing acts that range from 5-year-olds to 105-year-olds," Paula told Access.

"Live to Dance" is slated to premiere in January on CBS.

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