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'American Idol': Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul as judge [Updated]

Getprev The fourth seat has been filled.

Ellen DeGeneres has been named the fourth judge on "American Idol," definitively closing the door on talk that Paula Abdul, who left the show two months ago, will be back.

Fox announced the news Wednesday night. [Updated at 6:53 p.m.: But only after DeGeneres herself used her talk show to break the news to a live audience. A longtime fan of the singing competition, DeGeneres decided to speak to human beings directly as opposed to tweeting about her new gig a la Abdul's resignation. [Updated at 9:50 p.m. She will join the  other judges for the infamously challenging Hollywood rounds.] The ninth season begins airing in January.

[Updated at 7:20 p.m.: DeGeneres signed a five-year deal for "American Idol" and extended her contract to host her talk show through 2014, sources close to the negotiations said.] Her announcement to her audience is part of the episode that airs tomorrow. The following is a transcript of her comments:

I have a big announcement to make. No one knows this. I just finally got the OK ... just moments ago to announce this to you today. ... I am going to be the new judge on 'American Idol.' (crowd applauds)

Thank you so much. I'm not leaving here. Don't worry about that. I'm going to have a day job and a night job. The times we're living ... in, we're all doing that. This is so exciting for me.  We've been dealing with this for the last couple of weeks and I've been dying to tell everyone.  It's just been so hard to keep it a secret and we just finally got the OK and I'm so excited. It is going to be so much fun.

I don't know how it happened myself, but I have not missed one episode of that show. I've watched every single thing. I love everything about it and I love music, as you know. Hopefully, I'm the people's point of view, because I'm just like you. I sit at home and I watch it and I don't have that technical [eye]. ... I'm not looking at it in a critical way from the producer's mind. I'm looking at it as a person who is going to buy the music and is going to relate to that person. So I'm hopefully going to be that voice of what we're all doing at home."]

-- Denise Martin and Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo credit: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (45)

Loved her last hit single, No. 1 with a bullet: "Raking It In Cause I'm Cute" ! Well, hell, she is and she's fun, too -- all the better to take the focus off the unpleasant female judge whose name I can't remember after an entire season.

This is a joke, right? Please, tell me this is a joke. Because if it isn't, then American Idol has become the joke. Love Ellen, don't get me wrong, but her qualifications? Is she going to joke her way through her comments like she did on "So You Think You Can Dance?"

Please, it's a joke, right?

Congrats Ellen! I think she'll add some reasoned comedy and will still manage to be kind to the contestants who may be less than talented. What an excellent pick!

Oh, hooray! Does anybody really care?!

Oh No, I really like and admire Ellen but did you see her as a guest judge on "So You Think You Can Dance"-she was awful. She seemed uncomfortable and unable to divorce herself from her stand-up persona. Maybe she will approach AI with more of the Ellen we know from her show but I think I've picked a good time to stop watching after 8 years.


I love Ellen. She's charming, fun... I'm sure viewers would appreciate her kind remarks and good humor. But, uh, shouldn't one of the basic criteria for judges on American Idol be to have firsthand experience in the music industry? As performer, executive, record producer, etc., in order to offer serious appraisal of a singer's technique, stage presence, and marketability? This is a serious dumbing down of the show and makes one wonder (even more) how scripted and predetermined things are on American Idol.

I cannot think of another person better to add to Simon, Randy, and Kara. Now you have comedy which will ease the tension to some of Simon's harsh criticisms. Every time its Ellen turn to say her comments, people will have smile on their faces and expect her to say something funny. Congratulations to 'Idol' producers for making the perfect choice and a great, big welcome to Ellen!


Never seen a shark jump so high.

The end is near...and no, she's not like me and you....just ask GOD.

Interesting choice.... Is there an agenda here by Hollywood or is she REALLY the right choice. This is a show with a audience of mainly 7-25 year olds. Was a good show that a family could sit down with their kids and enjoy. Very Impressionable age groups watching. Ellen, to my knowledge, has no musical backround and is not a popular talk show host amongst kids and teens. So why choose her?

I was losing interest in this show, but now will definitely not watch.

Yes Good News! We love you Ellen! Congrats from Lummi Island, Washington

Ellen is going to be a great addition to the show. Not only is she very funny but she is REAL!! I love Ellen and I could not think of a better choice! She will bring the show to new heights! Thank you Ellen, for taking the job. If you didn't take it, I would have! It is my very favorite show and I never miss an episode.

OK, so Ellen loves the show. I enjoy it, too. Does that qualify me to be a judge on American Idol? Seriously. She could help turn the show into a cartoon of its former self. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I certainly hope she resists the urge to "try" to be funny. Simon may be caustic, but at least he knows what he's talking about.

WOW.... How does this lady qualify...

Jill, watch her show just one time, and you will see why the producers of Idol picked her. They couldn't have picked a nicer person. She's funny, kind, and she knows music. She will be an excellent foil to Simon, while at the same time making him laugh.

Really poor choice. Look, nothing against Ellen, but the JUDGES on A.I. need to have some sort of music industry background and knowledge. The Average Joe, the American Public, the "People"? They get to have their voices heard via the voting process. We don't need a judge slot wasted for that purpose. It's great that Ellen is a fan, but no matter how funny and popular (or famous) the fan is, a fan is a fan is a fan and not a judge.

This was a colossal mistake.

I think this chose is going to prove to be a fun new addition to the show. I look forward to her humorous input! Congrats and good luck Ellen!

What would posess this show to have someone like Ellen. What relativeness will she have to 7-22 year olds. This is definately lower the rating for the show and whomever is in this time slot at the other networks can only see this as a good sign for their programming. Sad and pathetic.

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