Monday, September 14, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres to judge new "Idol"

LOS ANGELES- Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was named late Wednesday as the new judge on hit television series "American Idol," replacing Paula Abdul for the upcoming season of the ratings giant.

DeGeneres said she was "thrilled" to land the position, where she will be the permanent replacement for Abdul, who quit the show earlier this year amid reports of a contract dispute.

"I've watched since the beginning and I've always been a huge fan, so getting this job is a dream come true," said DeGeneres.

DeGeneres will join the series after its preliminary auditions phase. Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain are among guest judges serving during the early rounds. "American Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said he "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 touch to our judging panel," Fuller said.

Abdul announced last month that she was leaving the Fox Broadcasting singing competition, television's most-watched series, after eight seasons.

- AFP/vm


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