Los Angeles Ellen DeGeneres is dancing her way into the fourth judge’s seat on “American Idol.”
Fox announced Wednesday the talk show host and comedian, who admittedly has no formal music experience, just a passion for tunes, will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi for the ninth season. The announcement all but seals the departure of Paula Abdul, the original third judge who announced she was quitting amid a contract dispute in July.
Wednesday’s announcement came as a shock to many of the singing competition’s fans, who did not expect the Emmy-winning talk show host to fill Abdul’s spot. DeGeneres told her talk show audience in an episode scheduled to air today that she had been “dying to tell everyone” and would not abandon her chatfest. Instead, she will have “a day job and a night job.”
“The times we’re living in,” she quipped, “we’re all doing that.”
Abdul had been replaced by a succession of guest judges across the country as “Idol” started next season’s auditions, which will air in January. Among them: Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Katy Perry and Shania Twain — but not the 51-year-old DeGeneres, who will join the ninth season following the show’s tryout rounds.
“Hopefully, I’m the people’s point of view because I’m just like you,” DeGeneres said on her talk show. “I sit at home and I watch it, and I don’t have that technical ... 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.”