Katy Perry's $25 Million 'American Idol' Salary Prompts Vibrant Reaction From Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul is not bitter about Katy Perry's astronomical paycheck for judging ABC's American Idol reboot. Abdul, who was a judge on the original Fox series, surprisingly praised Perry for making sure she is paid $25 million a season. Back when she was on the show, Abdul's salary was reportedly dwarfed by Simon Cowell's.

While on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Wednesday, a caller asked Abdul for her opinions on the ABC Idol and Perry's $25 million paycheck.

"Well, good for her. Good for her!" Abdul said. "Why not?"

Cohen seemed surprised by that and praised Abdul for not being bitter about it.

"I take it out on my chihuahuas behind-the-scenes," Abdul joked, later telling Cohen she has seen a "couple episodes" and considers Perry and fellow Idol judge Lionel Richie friends.

"Kary and Lionel are friends and I love them... and I'd like to know Luke," Abdul joked, referring to country singer and judge Luke Bryan.

Perry is reportedly the highest-paid judge on the new Idol panel. According to a 2018 Wall Street Journal report, ABC paid Richie $10 million, while host Ryan Seacrest and Bryan earned $12 million, each. During the last season on Fox, judges Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. were paid $3.5 million each, while Seacrest and judge Jennifer Lopez were paid $15 million each.

Back in 2008, former Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said Cowell earned $36 million a year during his run on Idol, reports NBC News. Abdul was rumored to earn just between $5 million and $8 million a season during her 2002 to 2009 tenure on the series.

"Let's just put it on record. I was not getting paid $​25 million dollars," Abdul told Entertainment Tonight in June 2017, after ABC revived the series.

At the time, Abdul said she would only be interested in returning to Idol as a mentor.

"I don't think I'd do the judging thing anymore?" Abdul said. "But if they ever called me and they needed help or mentoring with kids, or anything like that. That's what I do, that's who I am."

As for Perry, she said she was "really proud" to make sure she got a huge $25 million contract in 2017. "I got paid more than pretty much any guy that's been on that show. And by the way, I love men," she said on KTU that year.

During Abdul's appearance on WWHL, a caller also asked if she ever dated Cowell.

"Oh, guh… no!” she quickly replied. “No! I mean, ew! No!"


Abdul kicks off her residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas on Oct. 22. Meanwhile, American Idol will be back on ABC early next year.

Photo credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images