Ellen DeGeneres to begin 'Idol' judging duties next month
Ellen DeGeneres officially begins her "American Idol" duties during the infamously grueling Hollywood Week -- the rite of passage in which 200 contestants who passed initial rounds with judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi -- prove they are worth singing in front of America.
DeGeneres, who missed the first rounds of auditions in the summer because she was hired in the middle of that process after Paula Abdul unexpectedly bowed out of the Fox show, begins her new job in January. She signed a five-year deal and will continue to host her popular talk show.
Hollywood Week has traditionally been filmed in November, but producers changed it to January to accommodate Cowell's schedule, which means contestants will be vying for the coveted 24 to 36 slots to appear on the live shows as America is already beginning to get to know them on TV.
The show premieres Jan. 12. Hollywood Week auditions will air in February.
-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)Photo: Ellen DeGeneres. Credit: Associated Press