Fired 'X Factor' Judge Paula Abdul Says Simon Cowell Still a Friend (EXCLUSIVE)

'It’s a warped kind of thing'
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Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell's friendship has been in the public eye since working together on American Idol, but is she still furious with the British music mogul when he abruptly terminated her mentoring position on The X Factor last January?

"Believe it or not, Simon and I are friends," Abdul, 50, told Celebuzz about Cowell, 52. "It’s a warped kind of thing."

Music fans were stunned last January 30 when news broke that The X Factor was undergoing a shake up -- with host Steve Jones, judge Nicole Scherzinger and Abdul herself axed from the series.

Though The X Factor was a hit amongst its fans, according to Abdul, Cowell considered the show a failure if they got anything less than an audience of 20 million.

So how did the producer react when X Factor only raked in 14 million viewers?

"He put that out there so it kind of made a cloud over it," said Abdul. "So at the end of the day, when you see people like Christian (Palin) and Adam (Lambert) and you see what’s going on, he felt like he needed to go in a different direction."

Though the termination was a total surprise for "Straight Up" songstress, the past six months that followed gave her new perspective on the matter.

"He (Cowell) was stuck between a rock and a hard place when he opened up his mouth," she said. "He thought change and a bold and a big departure were needed for what was going on."

Since January’s backstage bloodbath, two new judges – Britney Spears and Demi Lovato – have been added to the show.

"I’m looking forward to seeing how they do,” said Abdul. "When you have a long career such as Britney’s, she knows what she’s doing. I hope she has fun. Same thing with Demi."

When asked if she had any advice for X Factor replacements, Abdul laughed, "What’s the best advice I can give them? Don’t take mine, obviously."

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