To hear producers tell it, though, they were just looking for ways to change up the show.
But in an interview on Nightline airing Thursday, the "Forever Your Girl" singer does little to dispel the myth.
Coanchor Cynthia McFadden asks the petite star if she would like to stay on the show or not, and, as is her wont, Abdul doesn't really answer the question.
"I love the show, I do," she says. "I love what I do on the show, and I'm loving it more this season than ever. It's taken me a while to get comfortable in my own skin with the show."
Earlier in the interview, Abdul, whose contract is up at the end of this eighth season, shares that she only found out about the fourth judge on her way to the airport for the first round of auditions, and Randy Jackson learned about it around the same time.
"I was surprised because Simon [Cowell] had always been against the fourth."
McFadden then asks Abdul if she thinks DioGuardi will replace her.
"I don't think anyone [can]," she confides. "First of all, Kara says, 'I could never replace you.' And I said, 'Whenever there is change, it's not about replacing anybody. It's about possibly moving on.' "
In the meantime, Abdul continues her party line that she and DioGuardi have no tension between them and that she's happy for the songwriter's success.
And, of course, she blabs about her feelings on her frenemy, Cowell.
"He's a bully, he's a masterful bully," she says, admitting that he has the biggest ego on the show. "The first day I went to work on season one, I quit seven times…I couldn't believe that someone was actually getting away with crushing fragile kids."