Paula Abdul: Leaving Idol for Dancing?

Paula Abdul: Leaving Idol for Dancing?
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

04/22/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Audience members at Monday night’s Dancing with the Stars performance show were abuzz when, an hour into the show, Paula Abdul took a front-row seat in the ballroom.

The American Idol judge was accompanied by Simon Cowell’s girlfriend, Extra correspondent Terri Seymour.

Abdul, who gave R&B singer Mario and Karina Smirnoff’s steamy rumba a standing ovation, told PEOPLE, “I’m a huge fan. I absolutely love this show.”

Because Idol’s soundstage is right next door to Dancing’s, Abdul confesses that she “sneaks in on Tuesday nights." "I always say I have to go to the bathroom and I sneak in and watch," Abdul says. "This season it’s been Kristi Yamaguchi. She’s amazing. But so is Jason (Taylor), so is Marlee (Matlin). There are a lot of great ones this season.”

So would Abdul ever consider being a contestant rather than the judge?

“Listen, it would be a phenomenal experience for me to be a student and to learn a form of dance I’ve never been introduced to,” Abdul says. “I don’t know how to do ballroom dancing. I’ve been a professional choreographer, not a professional dancer."

Dancing host Tom Bergeron has said that Abdul would love to do the show if her Idol schedule allowed. While it would be impossible January-May, Dancing’s next season revs up in the fall.

So if her Idol schedule freed up, who would be her dream partner?

“I guess I have my wish list, but I’m not going to say,” Abdul giggled.

One pro dancer is happy to step up to the plate … Tony Dovolani.

“I love Paula Abdul," says Dovolani. “I’ve had a crush on her for years. I hope she’s on the show. I would give my left arm to dance with her.” --Monica Rizzo

Kelsey McNeal/ABC

From Our Partners