The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

73° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Ellen DeGeneres joining ‘American Idol’

    Some celeb commencement speakers this spring have injected humor, insight and originality into their words of wisdom for the classes of 2009, like Ellen Degeneres at Tulane University. (Nicolas Khyayat/Abaca Press/MCT)

    Ellen DeGeneresdances daily on her talk show. So she thinks she can judge singers?

    Fox and the producers of “”American Idol”” apparently do. In a wholly unexpected development, the comedian has been selected to join the judging panel on television’s “”American Idol,”” effectively replacingPaula Abdul, the network announced Wednesday night.

    DeGeneres will joinSimon CowellandRandy Jackson, as well asKara DioGuardi, who’s entering her second year evaluating the singers competing on television’s most popular program, set to begin its ninth season in January.

    How the newcomer will fit in and whether the show is served by having that many judges is anyone’s guess.

    DeGeneres can clearly hold her own as a performer. But DioGuardi sometimes seemed unnecessary last season. For that matter, Jackson often was the odd man out as Cowell and Abdul teased and taunted each other, which could be as entertaining as the young singers hoping to win viewer votes en route to the “”Idol”” title.

    Abdul’s contract negotiations with the show’s producers broke down last month, however, with Abdul telling fans of her exit via Twitter.

    “”I’m thrilled to be the new judge on ‘American Idol,'”” DeGeneres said in the announcement. “”I’ve watched since the beginning, and I’ve always been a huge fan. So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I’ll save from not having to text in my vote.””

    DeGeneres will not join the judges’ panel until after the show’s early auditions. Guest judges at those auditions will includeVictoria Beckham,Mary J. Blige,Kristin Chenoweth,Joe Jonas,Neil Patrick Harris,Avril Lavigne,Katy Perryand Shania Twain.

    “”I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the ‘American Idol’ family,””Simon Fuller, creator and executive producer of “”Idol”” and “”So You Think You Can Dance,”” said in a statement. “”Ellen has been a fan of the show for many years, and her love of music and understanding of the American public will bring a unique human touch to our judging panel. I can’t wait for this next season to begin.””

    Fellow “”Idol”” executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz added, “”Beyond her incredible sense of humor and love of music, (DeGeneres) brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable.””

    Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment for Fox, called DeGeneres “”one of America’s funniest people and a fantastic performer who understands what it’s like to stand up in front of audiences and entertain them every day,”” and he said she will add “”a fresh new energy to the show.””

    In the edition of her syndicated “”Ellen”” program taped to air Thursday, DeGeneres told her daytime audience not to worry that she will abandon them as she adds this prime-time job to her workload.

    “”I’m going to have a day job and a night job,”” DeGeneres said, according to comments provided by the talk show. “”The times we’re living … in, we’re all doing that.””

    DeGeneres said her goal as a judge on “”Idol”” is to represent ordinary viewers.

    “”Hopefully I’m the people’s point of view because I’m just like you,”” she said. “”I sit at home and I watch it and … 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.””


    Phil Rosenthal:


    (c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.

    Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


    ARCHIVE PHOTOS on MCT Direct (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):

    ARCHIVE CARICATURE on MCT Direct (from MCT Faces in the News Library, 202-383-6064):

    Ellen DeGeneres

    More to Discover
    Activate Search