Ellen DeGeneres has announced she is leaving American Idol. What’s next for the judges’ panel? (via Tuned In)
In a statement on her website, DeGeneres cited her busy schedule and her discomfort hurting contestants’ feelings in her decision that Idol “didn’t feel like the right fit.”
With DeGeneres’s departure, two spots are vacant on the panel. Tuned In’s James Poniewozik notes that some reports say Idol‘s producers are completely starting from scratch, building a completely new panel. Though it’s not confirmed, Deadline.com reports that Jennifer Lopez may take DeGeneres’s seat. It would be a good move for Lopez, as her career has stalled in recent years.
As for Ellen, Poniewozik says leaving the show was a good decision — both for her and for the show.
Where Paula [Abdul], at least, provided some entertainment value along with being the mother-hen figure, Ellen was just redundant. Contestants already had Ryan Seacrest for a protector, and we already had Kara [DioGuardi] and Randy [Jackson] for platitudes. It was to the point where Ellen was devaluing her own brand on Idol, and in that sense, it is probably best for her (or the producers) to cut her losses.