We have learned in subsequent time since the announcement that Ellen DeGeneres was at the top of the list of producers to replace Paula Abdul and that they want her so badly, they have given her a (gasp!) five year contract.
USA Today did a lengthy reax piece today. Brian Mansfield, one of the writers, interviewed me but sadly, I didn’t make the cut. (MJ did. Congrats!)
“I expect her to be funny and do what she sees fit,” says Mike Darnell, who oversees Idol as president of alternative entertainment at Fox. “People get cynical about TV shows that never change. It’s important to keep Idol vital. Bringing in Ellen, the only person we pursued, does that.”
Paula tweeted her own reax, which is positive, of course:
I think Ellen will b a gr8 judge on Idol. She is wildly funny, talented and I wish her the best of luck!
TMZ posted a curious segment on “Ellen” with Simon Cowell from early May. I don’t think she knew anything at this point but you can read into her comments if you want:
Anyway, let’s take this from a pro-con standpoint. Let’s look at the potential positives of having Ellen DeGeneres on the judge’s panel
- She is naturally quippy funny. She was a standup comic and can go off the cuff on her talk show. The “Idol” panel has never had someone like that before.
- She can play the “every woman,” the conduit in which you and I view the show since she’s not an expert.
- She’s likable. She truly seems like a happy person, too.
- She seems easy going. She’s a hard worker. She will show up on time and doesn’t seem like a diva.
- She does love the show. She has brought many an “Idol” contestant on her show.
- She is the most famous person ever to be on the panel as a regular.
- She could shake things up in unexpected positive ways.
- She has no professional connection to music. Even though Paula Abdul was hardly Mariah Carey in the chops departmemt, she did have a successful career and knows the business inside and out.
- Though she’s funny, she’s going to have to expand the joke repertoire beyond what she did on “So You Think You Can Dance” or it can wear fast. She’s supposed to be a judge but can she provide the contestants anything usable in terms of a critique? Even Paula would throw of a smart bit of advice once in awhile despite herself.
- It’s hard to say what the chemistry will between her and Randy, Kara and Simon. I’m especially concerned about Simon. He really did love teasing Paula and their interplay kept him engaged. As Deirdre on this blog noted, he won’t be flirty-flirty with Ellen. A grouchy, disengaged Simon might not bode well for his future on the show.
- Will she know how to keep it tight and bright? Already, most bloggers hear believe we have too many judges anyway taking time away from the contestants. Paula sometimes rambled. Will Ellen, too?
- Many people still don’t like the fact she’s a lesbian. Surely, she doesn’t shove her sexual orientation in people’s faces but if you read the blog comments on some sites (see TMZ), not all have been kind.
- Ellen has said she plans to be the “nice” gal. But if she also wants to be the average Joe (or Jan), she needs to be occasionally Simon-like, too. Aren’t we all from the comfort of our couches?
- Speaking of Ellen, her show is being sued by record labels for playing popular songs without their permission, mostly during her dance bits. This is a curious segment from the story I read:
The suit claims the daytime talk show has used copyrighted music without permission since its inception, including “recordings by virtually every major current artist of popular music.” It claims the show routinely used some of the most popular songs of the day, which the record labels don’t license for daytime television at any price.
Record labels don’t license songs for daytime TV at any price? Really? Why? Don’t they want the money? Bizarre!
- Danny Gokey told the LeHigh Valley Morning Star that he is open to marrying again but isn’t dating. He also credits Paula Abdul and Randy Travis (a mentor last season) for him going country.
Gokey said he was hesitant to become a Christian artist because “I didn’t want to exclude people.” He said he considered pop, but “it wasn’t a good fit.”
–Six of the season seven buds of David Cook showed up at his concert in Los Angeles and they all tweeted about it. Michael Johns, Carly Smithson, Ramiele whats her face, Jason Castro, Brooke White and Jason Castro made the trip.
-Kris Allen was ill last night and didn’t perform at the “Idols Live” concert in Bridgeport, CT. MJ noted that this is the first time the winner has not sung on the tour. (Runner up from season five Kat McPhee missed a few shows in 2006.)