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DeGeneres says she won't be mean as 'Idol' judge

  • Story Highlights
  • Ellen DeGeneres "didn't think for a second" she would replace Paula Abdul on "Idol"
  • Abdul recently left singing competition after eight years
  • Abdul describes DeGeneres as "wildly funny and talented"
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Ellen DeGeneres is excited about joining "American Idol" as a judge, and hopes fans won't see her as the "evil" person who stole Paula Abdul's job.

Ellen DeGeneres says she doesn't want to be known as the woman who took Paula Abdul's job on "American Idol."

Ellen DeGeneres says she doesn't want to be known as the woman who took Paula Abdul's job on "American Idol."

The 51-year-old comedian will replace Abdul when the singing competition resumes for a ninth year in January. Abdul recently left the show after eight years over contract disagreements.

"I hope Paula [Abdul] is OK with it," DeGeneres told "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show Thursday. "I don't want anybody to think I took Paula's job away. ... I certainly don't want to be that person that is the evil taking Paula's job away."

DeGeneres, who will continue to host her syndicated daily talk show, said she loves music and is a huge fan of "Idol." She aims to bring compassion and empathy to the show, qualities Abdul was known for.

"I'm not going to be mean. I hate when Simon [Cowell] is that mean," DeGeneres said, referring to the notorious judge who also serves as executive producer.

"You can be constructive and criticize somebody. That's helpful, instead of mean-spirited."

DeGeneres first gained fame in stand-up comedy and acting roles in several movies and television sitcoms. She also has hosted the prime-time Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards.

Earlier Thursday, Abdul posted a message on her Twitter account, describing the talk show host as "wildly funny and talented." Video Watch critics discuss whether DeGeneres is a good fit for 'Idol' »

"I think Ellen will b a gr8 judge on Idol," Abdul said on the social-networking site.

The Emmy Award-winning DeGeneres said she was shocked by Abdul's departure, but "didn't think for a second" that she was going to replace her.

"I thought Paula was a huge part of the show," DeGeneres said. "I was sad, and so I went, 'Well, that's going to be a hole that needs to be filled by someone that really is going to contribute in a totally different way.'" Sound off on "Idol's" new judge


The show added Kara DioGuardi, a songwriter and music industry executive, as a judge last season.

Cowell and Randy Jackson remain as original judges. This season, "Idol" will also feature a series of guest judges, including Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige and Shania Twain.

All About Ellen DegeneresAmerican IdolPaula Abdul

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