With Paula Abdul taking a walk, Fox has confirmed that actress, comic and TV talk host Ellen DeGeneres will be the 4th judge for the new season of “American Idol.” She once was a Grammy nominee, but it was not for a music recording.
“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,” said DeGeneres.
The 9th season of Idol premieres in January, with DeGeneres to sit alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. She will join the judges’ panel after the auditions, which will feature appearances by guest judges Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain.
“I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the American Idol family. 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,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller.
Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for Fox added, “We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres join the American Idol judges’ table this season. She is truly 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. We feel that her vast entertainment experience combined with her quick wit and passion for music will add a fresh new energy to the show.”
DeGeneres, whose syndicated “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is entering its seventh season, has won numerous Emmy Awards, American Comedy Awards and even a Peabody Award. In 2005, DeGeneres was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the audio version of her book, “The Funny thing Is.”
She does have a past association with Idol. DeGeneres co-hosted American Idol’s very successful “Idol Gives Back” special that raised money for children in extreme poverty in America and Africa.
American Idol is created and executive-produced by Simon Fuller, founder of 19 Entertainment; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc. and Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.
RBR/TVBR observation: Like you, our first reaction was “Huh?” This show is about singing. Yes, Ellen DeGeneres has a lot of things on her resume, but not one of them deals with music in any way, shape or form.
Apparently, she is going to represent the fans on the judge’s panel, while Simon, Randy and Kara are all experienced pros in the music biz. But don’t the fans already get to vote from their homes?