Paula Abdul is back-peddling hard after the on-air blunder which is leading many fans to believe that the show is ‘fixed’.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Paula laughed it off as one of those innocent slip-ups that makes live TV great — but not everyone is convinced.

On last night’s Top 5 show, the contestants sang two songs rather the usual one, and the judges were to give their opinions of both at the end of the show.

After the first round, however, host Ryan Seacrest lined up the contestants and asked the panel for a bite-sized run down of their impressions of the singers’ first efforts.

But Paula cast the audience, the Idol crew and the contestants into confusion when she seemed to give the first contestant, Jason Castro, notes on BOTH his songs — even though he had only sung one!

Now some Idol fans are claiming that the gaffe is proof that producers had predetermined what Paula was going to say about Jason’s performance before it had even happened and given her lines to read out.

Today she told Entertainment Tonight that she made the blunder because she was flustered by the last-minute change to the format.

Paula said that producers didn’t tell her, Simon and Randy until after the show had started that they would be judging both songs together.

She says that she began frantically scribbling notes about the first songs, but that in her rush, she wrote Jason’s name next to her notes for David — then read out both when she was asked for her opinion on Jason.

"It got very confusing," she told ET. "The producers come up to us in the dark and said, ‘We are not going to have you guys judge after each performer, we are going to have all the performers go once, then twice and at the end critique them.’"

"[So] I am feverishly trying to write notes for every performance," she explained.

Paula says that when Ryan asked for her comments, she was still trying organize her notes.

"I was trying to give my critique for Jason Castro, and scribbled Jason’s name, and that was David [Cook’s]! We all just screwed up everything."

She added with a laugh: "This is live television. This is fun!"

But cynics are not satisfied. Idol fans on the Net are arguing that since Paula later praised David’s first song but had slammed Jason’s, the notes she gave Jason could not have been intended for Jason.

So it seems that Paula, and Idol, are not quite off the hook just yet!

To see Paula’s defense go to www.etonline.com and tune in to Entertainment Tonight today.

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