Simon Cowell has broken his silence on the departure of Paula Abdul from American Idol‘s judges table, telling Extra, “I miss her, of course I miss her,” and that the chemistry between he, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi is “different… It’s like comparing a carrot to a banana.” If we had to guess, the threesome would be the hard carrot, and the banana would be the foursome with notoriously soft Paula in the center.

When Abdul’s exit was first announced, EW’s Idol expert Michael Slezak asked readers how it would affect their relationship with the show: 51 percent said they’d be less inclined to watch next season; 42 percent said it would make no difference to them; and six percent said they’d be more inclined to tune in. How will those results differ now that we know guest judges on Idol will include Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Victoria Beckham, and Avril Lavigne? Let’s find out.

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Photo Credit: Cowell: Steve Finn/Capital Pictures/Retna Ltd; Abdul: Sara De Boer/Retna Ltd.