November 06, 2008 04:30 PM

With the election of Barack Obama, Paula Idol of American Idol will stay just that – an American.

“I was crying!” she tells PEOPLE. “You feel such a sense of pride that you can’t even articulate how good you feel. It’s unbelievable! I have chills. I was just so excited. I was texting everyone: ‘Peace has begun.’ And then I was texting everyone, ‘I don’t have to move to Vancouver now!'”

Abdul, 46, is in New York City hosting Paula Abdul’s RAH Cheerleading Bowl, a high-energy cheerleading squad competition that will air New Year’s Day on MTV.

Seeing an African-American become President is something she never imagined would happen. “I prayed for it. But four years ago? Not even a thought. The only point of reference was Rev. Jesse Jackson’s (campaign), which was just embarrassing. But there’s a presence with this man.”

While she was excited for the Clinton election back in the 1990s, it pales in comparison to Obama’s election: “I just feel like the presence of this man is so calm, and so serene, and he is so confident and sure of himself. There’s a calming effect that just feels so good. I feel like it’s a universal shift towards kindness, towards patience, towards peace. That’s the only way I can explain it.’

She’s also looking forward to seeing the Obama family in the White House. “I love his wife. And those little girls, I just want to squish ’em they’re so beautiful!” she said. “I’ll offer to baby sit anytime!”

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