"American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi is looking forward to working with her new colleague at the judging table, but she's still processing the departure of her old friend.
In an interview with Billboard, DioGuardi says she's excited to start working with Ellen DeGeneres, who was named the show's fourth judge in September. "I think she's going to be a great addition," DioGuardi says. "I can't even imagine sitting next to her."
Despite that excitement, though, she still has former judge Paula Abdul on her mind. DioGuardi has written songs with Abdul -- and even lived with Abdul for a short time after moving to Los Angeles -- and says "it was sad" to hear of Abdul's departure.
"It was definitely strange," she says. "You could tell with the contestants that she was really the heart of the show. She was very nurturing to them. I couldn't believe it, to be honest. It's still a little strange to think of 'Idol' without Paula."
Video of DioGuardi's interview -- in which she also talks about collaborating with past "Idol" contestants Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta -- is below.