Ellen DeGeneres made her big debut on “American Idol” last night. It’s the story everyone is talking about today. I hit up the Twitter world to see how the fans feel about the new “Idol” judge. Plus, more “Idol” tidbits straight from Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson, in this all-“Idol” edition of today’s Dish of Salt.
Ellen’s ‘Idol’ Debut
We knew she was going to be funny, but what other qualities would she bring to “American Idol”? That was the question I was wondering as I tuned in last night. Overall, I was impressed with Ellen at the judges’ table. I still have issues with the fact that she has no musical background she can bring to the show, but I like her humour and her honesty. She’s truthful without being nasty like Simon. Not to say that I don’t like Simon’s brutal critiques too. I took to my Twitter page to get reaction from true “American Idol” fans. (OK, truthfully most of them are Adam Lambert fans)
gingerrox said, “She seemed a good judge - perceptive, honest, funny. We’ll see!”
melodicparadox said, “Her comic relief was really refreshing and it helped ease some of the tension in the air. Perfect replacement for Paula!!”
chessarook said, “She’s honest, refreshing. I think the comedy she brings is deadpan and fantastic. It’s a new kind of idol judging and I like it.”
stellina429 said, “I admit, I love her, but after SYTYCD I was worried. But I thought she was fantastic! Perfect blend of humor and honesty.”
So the fans seem to be on board… for now.
This morning, I tracked down Randy Jackson for his take on Ellen’s arrival. When I say track down, I’m not kidding. We did our interview, in between some meetings he had, in a parking lot outside of where I go for Mystic Tan and grab my favorite yummy frozen yogurt. “She did great,” he told me. “I think a lot of people love her, as well as you know. She definitely, they felt her presence. So I loved that.”
Last night on the show, the judges sat at the table in the order of Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara, then Randy. However, Randy says that might not be the case when they get to the live shows. “I actually see me laying across it and everyone judging over me, eating food over my great body you know,” he joked. “No, listen, look, I think we’ll probably move it around until we find the right chemistry.” One thing is for sure — you won’t see Randy sitting next to Simon. He says that’s an absolute no.
Randy has heard the rumors about who might be in the running to replace Simon when he leaves the show, including Tommy Mottola, Conan O’Brien, Howard Stern and Elton John. While he wouldn’t comment on the validity of any of those reports, he has chatted with Simon about all of it. “I’m just hearing Simon’s words in my head. He said, ‘Look, you know we probably have to start at the top of who you guys could get and maybe we start with God?’”
Kara’s Favorite Song
Interestingly, Randy says he doesn’t watch the shows back at all when they air. I know that Kara DioGuardi does. This morning in a conference call with reporters, she had much to say about 23-year-old waitress Didi Benami, who sang a version of a song co-written by Kara called “Terrified.” The rendition left the Hollywood Week contestant feeling joyful as she made it to the next round. “I was absolutely shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Kara said. “It’s not a song that was released as a single. It’s something I co-wrote with an artist I signed to Warner Bros., Jason Reeves, and it was a very special song to both of us.”
Kara says she put the song up on her Web site last year and that is where Didi must have found it. “There was no way she could find the sheet music. So she went and she learned it on her own, which I thought was pretty impressive. That’s pretty, you know, to want to sit and watch that YouTube video over and over to learn it - I think she did a really good job and a nice interprepation of it.”
You can check out Kara and Jason Reeves’ version of the song HERE!
One thing both Kara and Randy agree on is that they believe a girl has the upper hand this season to win the top honor. “I think that this year, especially what’s going on in music currently, it’s the women’s movement,” she said. “You have got Taylor Swift. You have got Beyonce. You have got Ke$ha. You have got Katy Perry, Lady Gaga. You have these very unique women at the forefront of the music industry that all have their own voices, that all have their own styles and I think that just, you know, looking at the pool of talent we have this year, its similar to that. They’re unique. They’re different. They have a voice.”
More Hollywood Week tonight on “American Idol” on FOX.