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Paula Abdul, Michael Johns

Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Mike Moore/Getty Images

Paula Abdul's good friend and former American Idol wannabe Michael Johns says it's time for the reality show's producers to pay up.

He doesn't understand why they didn't give the ousted judge what she wanted to stay on.

"She's not asking for what [Ryan] Seacrest is getting paid," Johns told us last night at In Style editor Ariel Foxman's Summer Soiree party at the London hotel in West Hollywood. "She's asking for $20 million over three years, so I think she totally deserves that money. She's a huge reason people tune in to the show…I think Fox should pull their finger out and pay her what she deserves."

Johns said Abdul confided in him during the negotiations.

"We talk all the time," the Aussie singer said. "She was a bit upset. She just doesn't understand why Fox made the decision they made—especially when a lot of people got upgrades in money. But she said, 'Look I'm not going to budge on this. I really think that's my worth.' "

Paula or no Paula, Johns does hope the upcoming season includes a second guest-judging stint by Inglourious Basterds director Quentin Tarantino.

"He was hilarious," he said. "I wish he could come back."

As for someone new, Johns has a thing for a certain late-night talk-show host. "I think Chelsea Handler would be pretty funny," he said, adding, "Chelsea would be my first pick."

—Reporting by Dahvi Shira


See the latest crop of Paula Abdul replacements at our American Idol 2010: Guest Judges Galore photo gallery.