Paula Abdul has announced that she won't be returning to 'American Idol.' Still, a former contestant says don't rule her out just yet.

"I have a feeling Paula will return as judge," Season 5 finalist Bucky Covington tells Pennsylvania's WIOV radio. "I think I've heard before that Simon [Cowell] wasn't coming back, and you just knew that was crap."

Bucky, who placed 12th on 'American Idol' and went on to find success on country radio, defends Paula's value to the show. "A lot of people say Paula's overly nice. When you've got somebody who's overly mean and somebody who's straight-forward, you need somebody overly nice," he insists.

Either way, Paula has a lifelong fan in Bucky. "I'd love to see Paula stay," Bucky says, "but if she doesn't, I'm sure she'll be successful."

Bucky has found the secret to his own success -- both on stage and with the ladies. "Any guy who plays the guitar knows this ... You learn to play guitar not because you love music but because you love women," Bucky admits. "I really do love the music, and the attention doesn't suck!"