American Idol names Ellen DeGeneres new judge

, Staff

After rotating a cast of guest judges for the taping of this season’s auditions, the producers of American Idol have named their hit TV show’s new permanent judge: comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The surprising announcement was made yesterday during a taping of her talk show and was later confirmed by FOX TV.

DeGeneres will join the judges table, in the spot once held by Paula Abdul, when the series’ ninth season premieres in January 2010. “I’m thrilled to be the new judge on American Idol,” DeGeneres said in a press release. “I’ve watched since the beginning, and I’ve always been a huge fan. So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I’ll save from not having to text my vote.”

American Idol’s creator and executive producer, Simon Fuller, stated, “I 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 human touch to our judging panel. I can’t wait for this next season to begin.”

The show also revealed the full roster of stars who will guest judge during the show’s auditions: Victoria “Posh” Beckham (who was in town for the Boston audition), Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain.

The decision to name DeGeneres as Idol’s fourth judge alongside Fuller, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, certainly caught many by surprise. Critics point to DeGeneres’s lack of music industry experience and knowledge, while proponents of the move claim that she will bring a practical and fan perspective with humour. Here at BMS, we can only be reminded of when Dennis Miller joined the Monday Night Football broadcast team.

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