Abdul calls the Idol staff a "dysfunctional family"

By Stephen M. Silverman Jenny Sundel
April 26, 2006 08:35 AM

Paula Abdul is laughing off talk about an ongoing feud between her and Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

“Reports of a feud are ridiculous,” Abdul, 43, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are one funny dysfunctional family. There’s nothing but love.”

On Friday however, Seacrest, 31, told PEOPLE his relationship with Abdul has been “awkward” lately. “I don’t know what the deal is. It’s very awkward.”

Asked if he was speaking to Abdul, Seacrest answered: “No.”

On Tuesday, Randy Jackson weighed in, jokingly telling PEOPLE: “I don’t talk to Ryan. ” The Idol judge then added: “We love (Paula). I talk to her.”

As for Tuesday s show, during which Abdul broke down in tears after Elliott Yamin s performance, Jackson said, “It was a very emotional night for Paula… I don’t know why (she cried) You got to ask her.”

He jokingly added: “I think I saw Simon choke up a little bit too.”

As for the tension between Seacrest and Abdul, it all started when each of them separately appeared on The Tonight Show.

In Seacrest’s March 30 appearance, Jay Leno said that Abdul had seemed “a little loopy” to which Seacrest replied, “Well, have you listened to her album?” When Leno playfully asked whether Abdul had been drinking, Seacrest answered, “Hey look, I don’t look in their cups to see what’s sitting before them on that table. But at times I feel like we have reeled her in.”

Abdul shot back when she appeared on the show on April 10. When Leno asked whether Seacrest was dating Teri Hatcher since the pair had been photographed kissing. “He only kisses the mirror,” said Abdul. “And honestly, do you think Teri Hatcher is that desperate of a housewife?”

In the weeks after Abdul’s Leno appearance, Seacrest frequently approached the judges’ table during Idol commercial breaks, but usually spoke only to Cowell and Randy Jackson.

In a statement to the New York Post on Tuesday, Seacrest’s spokesman said the Idol host was kidding about the feud, saying: “At the core they all love each other and are thrilled to be on the show together. Just like all families, sometimes they do have their days.”