Fox announced today that Ellen DeGeneres has been hired as Paula Abdul's permanent replacement as fourth judge on American Idol. Here is the official press release:
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 other than a passion for tunes, would join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi for the ninth season starting in January.
The announcement all but seals the departure of Paula Abdul, who announced she was quitting the show amid a contract dispute in July.
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DeGeneres told her talk show audience in an episode scheduled to air Thursday that she would not abandon her Emmy-winning chatfest, but would 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Abdul had been replaced by a succession of guest judges as "American Idol" started next season's auditions. Among them: Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain - but not the 51-year-old DeGeneres.
"Hopefully, I'm the people's point of view because I'm just like you," DeGeneres said on her 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."