Ellen DeGeneres parts ways with ‘American Idol’

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Ellen DeGeneres won’t be returning as an ‘American Idol’ judge, she announced Thursday on her talk show’s website.

‘It was a difficult decision to make,’ she said, ‘but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings.’


DeGeneres said she gave notice ‘a couple months ago’ that she wasn’t feeling it, but promised she wouldn’t ditch them until they knew what they wanted to do with the panel moving forward. ‘I loved the experience working on ‘Idol’ and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be,’ she said.

So now the speculation about who will replace Simon Cowell -- which has been hot about Jessica Simpson, but shut down in the Elton John and Justin Timberlake departments -- can expand to speculation about not only ‘who,’ but ‘how many.’

The original panel comprised, of course, Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. The arrival of Kara DioGuardi pushed it to four, and Ellen’s arrival in Abdul’s wake kept things even.

Did a three-person panel have more magic than the past two seasons’ foursomes? Or is the magic gone entirely? Let us know in the nonscientific poll after the break.

-- Christie D’Zurilla

The Ministry of Gossip has lots more on ‘American Idol’ and Ellen DeGeneres.