As Paula Abdul infamously wailed on "Hey Paula," "Where is God when you need him? Because this does not make sense!"
"Idol" fans across the Internet (myself included) had a collective Abdul-esque meltdown last night when news broke (via Paula's official Twitter) that she was leaving "American Idol" for good. For real.
The news hit me much harder than I expected it to, especially since we all assumed the "She's gonna leave!" chatter of the past few weeks was just an empty threat lobbed out there by her managers in order to drum up some publicity during contract negotiations.
In order to help you navigate through the pain, I've documented my bad day as I moved through The Seven Stages of (Paula Abdul) Grief.
1) SHOCK & DENIAL
"Wait, what? Paula just tweeted that she's definitely leaving? I won't believe a thing until I hear it from Fox. For all we know, she could just be attempting to rally the fans as a last-ditch attempt to get a raise! Or maybe someone hacked into her Twitter account!"
2) PAIN & GUILT
"I wonder if it had anything to do with money at all? Maybe she was just tired of being a punching bag in the press. Lord knows I've taken a ton of pot shots at her expense. Maybe if I said nicer things about her she would have stayed on the show. Oh God, what have I done?"
3) ANGER & BARGAINING
"Lord, if you bring Paula back, I swear I'll never call her 'Abdrool' or 'Abfool' again. She'll be 'Princess Paula' and if I don't have anything nice to say about her hair style or cleavage or judging a performance she hadn't seen, I won't say it. I promise! Wait, why am I blaming myself for Paula's leaving? We all know it's Kara's fault! If she didn't weasel her way on to the show this year, producers wouldn't have been so quick to stop negotiating with Paula. And if Seacrest didn't get an 800,000 percent pay increase, maybe Paula wouldn't have been so demanding during negotiations!"
4) DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS
"What am I gonna blog about next season? I'm such a hack. Without Paula, I can't use 75 percent of my go-to material. Nobody will read or watch my recaps ever again. It'll be like blowing kisses in the wind. Sigh. I just want to sleep like there's no tomorrow."
5) THE UPWARD TURN
"Hmmm, well I guess I'll still have Randy to poke fun at. His outfits are always good for a jab or two. And Simon doesn't seem to be getting a haircut anytime soon. Oy, but that Kara DioShowRuiner..."
6) RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH
"Give her another shot, Jim! Come on! Who knows? Kara might improve next season. She did sort of win me over when she outsang (and out-stripped) Bikini Girl at the finale. And I do love making 'No Boundaries' jokes every chance I get. OK, I think I can do this!"
7) ACCEPTANCE & HOPE
"Pshh, I might not even notice a difference. After all, Randy has been known to speak gibberish and comment on how pretty contestants look. (Both moves in Paula's repertoire, mind you.) Plus, Kara messes up common pop-culture references (Studio 57?!) and has the math skills of a toddler. (Again, both trademarks of Paula.) By the time Randy shows up wearing an ascot and Kara starts ranting about 'Harry Porter' I'll be asking, 'Paula Who?' Look on the bright side, Jim. It's the promise of a new day!"
In all seriousness, I hope that this shake-up forces the remaining "Idol" judges to step up their game next year. Last season, Paula was frequently the only judge giving any worthy advice or criticism. So for me (for you for me for you for me, as Randy would say), the biggest loss won't be the zany Paula (as fun as it was watching her act homeless on live television). Nope, perhaps the biggest shock of the departure news is the realization that I'll miss lucid Paula most of all.
How do you feel about Paula's peace-out? Will you still watch "Idol" next season? Who would you like to see replace Paula on the judge's panel (provided "Idol" decides to keep the current four-judge lineup)? Leave your thoughts in the comments or head over to Your.MTV.com to make your voice heard!