Your new 'American Idol' judge is ... Ellen DeGeneres!
Taking the seat left empty after Paula Abdul
ended her 'Idol' contract over salary disputes this summer, DeGeneres will join Simon Cowell
, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi on the show's judging panel for the ninth season, premiering January 2010, in addition to continuing her daytime hosting gig. (Wonder who'll get the eliminated 'Idol' contestants to chat first now ...)
Always the comedian, DeGeneres said: "I'm thrilled to be the new judge on 'American Idol
.' 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."
Her new boss seems pretty thrilled with the change as well. "I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the 'American Idol' family," creator and executive producer Simon Fuller
declared. "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."
This summer, DeGeneres brought her charm and quick wit to the judging panel on 'So You Think You Can Dance,' 'Idol''s dancing cousin. We can't wait to see her bring that same brand of genuine feedback and care for the hopeful singers on 'Idol' -- everything seems a little better with Ellen, don't you think?