It wouldn’t be right to cover TV news this week and not mention the changing of the guard happening over at American Idol. Yesterday, on her talk show, Ellen DeGeneres announced she will be replacing Paula Abdul as Idol’s fourth judge. She told Ryan Seacrest this morning on his radio show that she was as surprised as everyone else that they wanted to make her a permanent part of the AI team.
“They didn’t even ask me to be a guest judge,” DeGeneres said. “It just went straight to ‘Would you like to be…'”
She also made it clear that throughout this process she has tried to keep Paula’s feelings in mind.
“I hope Paula is OK with it,” said DeGeneres, who in addition to not talking to Abdul about her new gig has also so far refrained from speaking to Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson or Kara DioGuardi. “I don’t want anybody to think that I took Paula’s job away.”
When asked what kind of a judge she is going to be, Ellen says she plans to continue on with Paula’s legacy as “the nice one”.
“I’m gonna have fun with it. The one thing you know about me is I’m very honest. But I think you can be honest in a pretty kind way. I hope to be that compassionate person, ’cause that’s the one thing Paula did bring is that compassion and that empathy.”
And in response to some critics who have taken aim at Ellen for not having any singing or musical background, the comedian says she’s not going to pretend to be something she’s not.
“First of all, I love music, period. I’ve always loved music. And I’m a huge fan of the show; I haven’t missed a show since season one. I’m just a fan like everyone else. The people are the ones who choose the American Idol. It doesn’t come down to a music expert ultimately.”
American Idol returns to FOX this January. Ellen will join the show after the first round of out-of-town auditions are completed.
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