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Paula Abdul says her addition to the judging panel on “So You Think You Can Dance” this season is a long time coming, not to mention a no-brainer.

When it was announced that Mary Murphy and her Hot Tamale Train would not return for Season 12, producer and fellow judge Nigel Lythgoe finally pulled the trigger, offering a permanent seat at the table to the veteran dancer/choreographer who had previously appeared as a guest judge.

“I’m part of the family, I got to guest judge on Season 10,” says Abdul. “It took 10 years for me to get on there, but I feel like I’ve always been a cousin, a distant relative of the family on the show. And now I’m really part of the family, but I always was a part of Nigel’s family.”

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Nigel was executive producing “American Idol” during its heyday, when Abdul was a host alongside Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

While Paula is looking forward to mentoring the “SYTYCD” dancers this season as well as judging their weekly performances, the veteran entertainer says she’s also open to learning a thing or two.

“I’ve always remained a student, too,” she says. “And I always have believed that if you remain a student, you inevitably become the best teacher. It’s the gift that keeps on giving because sometimes I’m the student and they’re my teachers. It’s a just a wonderful realization to get that aha moment [of], I’m learning so much.”

“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 12, with new judges Abdul and Jason Derulo alongside returning judge and EP Lythgoe, premieres June 1 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

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