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Paula Abdul

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It ain't easy being Paula Abdul. When bombarded with questions at the winter TV press tour about Paula Goodspeed (an Abdul superfan and American Idol wannabe who later killed herself outside Abdul's home), Abdul briefly teared up.

Moments later she was laughing it up with new judge Kara DioGuardi, but maybe things aren't as shiny with the lady judges as they seem onscreen?

Paula insists that everything is going great, saying, "I am a big fan of the show. I am blessed to be on the show. It's the greatest show on television all around the world and...a gazillion people would love to be in my shoes."

But could Paula's tears be a sign of a larger problem? How do Paula and Kara get along? Find out what the stars themselves have to say about their relationship and the future of American Idol...

According to Paula, "I love all the changes this year." In addition to an all-new competition element promised by exec producer Ken Warwick (look for the big reveal in two or three weeks), Paula thinks Kara is a wonderful help: "It’s great because Kara finally sees how it is for me; it’s my own private hell." Producer Warwick agrees: "We brought in Kara, in part, as moral support for Paula."

And Paula's enjoying having someone to share the burden of fame with, saying, "Now someone from Saturday Night Live will parody her." Kara replies, "Great, I have so much to look forward to." Paula, who takes credit for discovering Kara 10 years ago in New York City, says of her protégé, "I'm very proud of her."

And proud they should be: The season premiere of American Idol racked up 30.1 million viewers, meaning that it continues to be (far and away) the most highly rated and successful program on television.

Did you like the first installment of the new season? Are you down with Kara? Post in the comments.

—Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams and Jennifer Godwin