Ellen DeGeneres is out as ‘American Idol’ judge

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

After days of furious rumors, Fox just made it official: Ellen DeGeneres’ much-criticized tenure as the fourth judge on “American Idol” has sputtered to an end after just one season, with the show in the midst of a massive overhaul.

In a news release, DeGeneres said she told the producers a couple of months ago that the show “didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” partly because of increased work commitments elsewhere, including her popular daytime talk show.

But “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,” she added.

DeGeneres was brought on for the ninth season as a replacement for Paula Abdul, who exited in a contract dispute. Some fans enjoyed her lighthearted quips, but DeGeneres was attacked by many “Idol” fans for having no background in the music industry and adding little to the show. She also reportedly had frosty relations with Simon Cowell, the show’s highest-profile judge, who has likewise left “Idol,” in his case to pursue his own new reality contest, “The X Factor,” on Fox.

Of this season’s four judges, only Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi remain.