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Abdul dodges questions about 'Idol' flap

Won't comment on findings that cleared her of affair allegations
/ Source: The Associated Press

"American Idol" judge Paula Abdul dodged questions about a review that Fox said found no evidence that she had an affair with a former contestant, instead chatting up co-hosts Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson on the upcoming season.

"I'm sitting right here happy doing what I'm doing," Abdul said Wednesday when asked if she felt vindicated by a report by two law firms that found nothing to corroborate former contestant Corey Clark's claim of an affair with the former pop star.

Abdul did say later that "when you have a show this successful it's crazy we haven't had any more discrepancies."

Abdul, Cowell, Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest were in San Francisco for auditions for the 2006 season. The trio argued and joked, and Cowell even promised that he would be "nice" next year.

The judges also praised former "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson's transition to mainstream star. Clarkson recently won MTV awards for Best Pop Video and Best Female Video for her hit "Since U Been Gone."

"We're proud, we're happy, and it's nice that she remembers the show as well," Cowell said.

But the judges said viewers of the upcoming season should be prepared for plenty more contestants like William Hung. Hung's dismal performance of the Ricky Martin song "She Bangs" failed to earn him a spot on "Idol" but won him a cult following and spots on television ads.

The judges also said viewers shouldn't expect that every contestant to have a flawless background and said a good scandal can keep the show interesting.

"Not everybody is perfect and I don't think we should be looking for perfect people," said Cowell, who routinely skewers "Idol" candidates he deems aren't up to snuff.

The allegations that Abdul had an affair with Clark, who competed unsuccessfully in 2003, received nearly as much publicity as the show last year and led to an ABC special called "Fallen Idol."

Fox has since implemented a "enhanced non-fraternization policy" to prevent incidents that could call into question the relationships between judges.

Asked if a lack of distractions would make the season easier, Abdul looked at Cowell and Jackson and said: "It's never easy sitting between these two."

American Idol resumes in January 2006.