Ex-American Idol judge Paula Abdul wished the show's newest addition, fourth judge Ellen DeGeneres, success, saying in a statement, "American Idol is a fantastic show that offers an invaluable platform to young talent. Ellen DeGeneres is wildly funny and talented in her own right. I wish her and the show only the best of luck." Abdul reiterated her support of Ellen on her Twitter, writing, "I think Ellen will b a gr8 judge on Idol. She is wildly funny, talented and I wish her the best of luck!"
Despite the kind words, a source tells Radar Online that Abdul was "very upset" and "stung" that she was permanently replaced on Idol, as she reportedly hoped that a last-minute deal would bring her back to the show she's been a part of since episode one.
Meanwhile, Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the radio show of her new co-star Ryan Seacrest yesterday and discussed the inevitable criticism that she lacks music industry experience. "I'm just a fan like everyone else," DeGeneres told Seacrest. "The people choose. Ultimately, it comes down to them, not some executive in the music industry. I hope to be that voice."
Randy Jackson agreed with the "interesting, different perspective" Ellen brings to the judges table, telling Fox & Friends yesterday, "[Ellen] can be the voice of the people among us. I think between me, Simon [Cowell] and Kara [DioGuardi], there's enough musical experts to go around right there."
DeGeneres said she was "surprised" when the producers approached her, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I didn't think for a second that it could be me," she said. "I had no idea this was even a possibility. When they came to me, I was like, 'I love that show! I would give anything to do it,' " DeGeneres said. "I love music, period. Always have. And I'm a huge fan of the show. I haven't missed an episode since Season One." DeGeneres also promised fans of the show that she won't be afraid to stand up against the sardonic Simon Cowell, saying, "I'll tell him the same thing I'll tell him when he's on my show, that he's mean."
Rolling Stone caught up with Season Six runner-up Blake Lewis yesterday, and while Lewis says Abdul is irreplaceable, he's excited to see what DeGeneres will bring to the show. "I think Ellen will rock, she's funny, I respect her, she's a great comedian and performer. I think people will listen to her opinion," said Lewis, who will release his next album Heartbreak on Vinyl October 6th. Lewis added that the show would miss Abdul's dedication to the contestants ("No one can replace Paula Abdul — she's the sweetness"), but that the series could use a shake-up. "I think American Idol needs a change, they need to focus more on behind the scenes stuff, how the show actually works," he tells RS.
Kara DioGuardi, relieved to no longer be the "new kid" or the "fourth judge" on Idol, told Sirius-XM's Larry Flick that she was "thrilled" that Ellen would be joining the show. "I'm a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan, I think she's going to bring so much to the show. She's somebody who loves music, she's positive, she loves kids," DioGuardi said. "She is somebody who has watched the show from the beginning, knows everything there is to know about American Idol and I think ultimately it's going to be a great new energy."