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

September 9, 2009 |  5:29 pm

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

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