To everyone who asked, “Why in the world would Paula Abdul quit American Idol?” a few months ago, it seems that Abdul herself is now pondering the same question. Word is, she’s bummed out and her replacement, Ellen DeGeneres, is absolutely the talk of the Idol set, reports.

DeGeneres is telling friends that she can’t wait for the new season of American Idol to begin in January. “She is a breath of fresh air that is so easy to work with,” a friend says. “Everyone in front of the cameras and behind all adore her, particularly ‘Mr. Mean,’ Simon Cowell, who Ellen has already challanged to a dance-off!”

Meanwhile, as life couldn’t be better for DeGeneres, Abdul finally realizes what a mistake it was to quit the show, says.

“Paula was full of optimism when she left Idol. She was confident she would get her own talk show and even a gig performing live on the Las Vegas strip — none of which has materialized. It’s going to get worse in January when Idol is everywhere with Ellen sitting in her seat," a worried friend of Paula’s tell me,”