Ellen DeGeneres Named New Permanent 'American Idol' Judge

Ellen DeGeneres backstage at the 2009 People's Choice Awards Ellen DeGeneres backstage at the 2009 People's Choice Awards

Ellen DeGeneres is the new full-time judge on “American Idol.”

The TV talk show host announced the news during a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Wednesday that she is the new “Idol” judge, filling a seat left vacant by Paula Abdul, who chose not to return to the show last month.

“I have a big announcement to make. No one knows this. I just finally got the OK … just moments ago to announce this to you today…I am going to be the new judge on ‘American Idol,’” Ellen told her audience on Wednesday afternoon, for her show which will air on Thursday.

Although Ellen is known for being one of the funniest ladies on television, the news was no joke, as the announcement was confirmed to Access Hollywood by a rep for FOX.

“I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the ‘American Idol’ family,” Simon Fuller, the show’s creator and executive producer, said in a statement issued to Access Hollywood. “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.”

However, Ellen will remain the host of her talk show, she promised her audience.

“I’m not leaving here. Don’t worry about that. I’m going to have a day job and a night job,” she said. “The times we’re living… in we’re all doing that.”

Ellen called her additional job “exciting” and explained that her judging credentials are accentuated by the fact she has watched the show – which begins its ninth season in January – since it began on FOX.

“I don’t know how it happened myself but I have not missed one episode of that show. I’ve watched every single thing,” she said. “I love everything about it and I love music, as you know. Hopefully I’m the people’s point of view because I’m just like you. 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. So I’m hopefully going to be that voice of what we’re all doing at home.”

“American Idol’s” Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz said in a statement to Access Hollywood the show is thrilled to have Ellen on board.

“We’re all delighted to have Ellen join our ninth season of ‘American Idol,’” she said. “Beyond her incredible sense of humor and love of music, she brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable. She is one of America’s foremost entertainers, and we cannot wait to have her join our team.”

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