Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Jason Kempin/WireImage
September 18, 2009 08:00 AM

Paula Abdul beat the haters to the punch on live TV Thursday night when she dressed up as – and even did a dance like – her would-be nemesis: Ellen DeGeneres.

“Why are you all staring at me? Can’t a girl try out for a new job?,” the recently unseated American Idol judge (wearing a blonde wig and black pant suit) asked as she sashayed Ellen-style onto the stage of VH1’s Divas Live and plopped into the chair of a set that mimicked that of the daytime talk-show host – who is set to replace her on Idol.

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“All kidding aside,” good-naturedly added Abdul, 47, who hosted this year’s Divas from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City, “[I have] nothing but love for Ellen, and I wish you the best of luck and congratulations on your new gig. And call me! You gotta call me if you have any Simon problems, ’cause you know, I know him best.”

Abdul opened the show by performing a medley of her hits, including “Straight Up” and “Forever Your Girl.” During “Opposites Attract,” she danced next to a video screen featuring MC Skat Cat – until a towering picture of Simon Cowell flashed up on a screen behind her.

Earlier, she had introduced the show, with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Sheryl Crow, Jordin Sparks and Kelly Clarkson, by saying, “I’m Paula Abdul, and this is not American Idol!

At the VH1 Save the Music Foundation after-party, Abdul told PEOPLE, “Everything was great. It was so much fun. I had a blast!”

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