DeGeneres: She'll be honest but kind on `Idol'

September 11, 2009 9:59:48 AM PDT
Ellen DeGeneres is known for being nice. But the new "American Idol" judge says she's tough enough to be honest with the show's contestants. DeGeneres also said Thursday that she's ready to take on fellow judge Simon Cowell, known for his sarcasm toward both singers and his "Idol" colleagues.

When Cowell is "rude and mean," DeGeneres said, she'll tell him. But she said she'll find a compassionate way to critique the contestants.

DeGeneres will join "American Idol" as the fourth judge when the show returns for its ninth season in January. The seat opened up when Paula Abdul resigned in the midst of a contract dispute.

DeGeneres, who signed a five-year deal with "Idol," will continue with her daytime talk show.

"Good luck" from Paula

Paula Abdul is wishing Ellen DeGeneres luck in her new "American Idol" role.

The former judge on the Fox singing competition said in a statement Thursday she thinks DeGeneres "is wildly funny and talented in her own right" and wished her and the show "only the best of luck."

Abdul had served as judge alongside Cowell and Jackson since the show's debut in 2002. She announced she was leaving the singing contest amid a contract dispute earlier this summer. Since departing "Idol," Abdul has filmed a cameo for Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva" and signed on to host the live "VH1 Divas" concert on Sept. 17.

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