I could start a new blog entry but the news is big enough for me to just re-do this and update as we go along at least for now.
Ellen DeGeneres has decided to leave “American Idol” after one season, Fox said in a press release sent to me at 7:59 p.m. Thursday night. Deadline Hollywood says singer and actress Jennifer Lopez is set to take over.
TMZ at 2:33 a.m. EST this morning reports that Kara DioGuardi is out, too, replaced by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Broadcasting and Cable said at 3:30 p.m. EST that Lopez’s contract is done and Tyler’s is nearly so. There’s no official word yet from Fox.
If this is the case, it appears “Idol” is going back to three judges, which is great news for virtually all of us. Four judges cramped the show with too many “me, too” opinions, wasting valuable time.
Randy Jackson is the only original judge left. Nigel Lythgoe, who left the show in 2008, is back as a producer and he has publicly expressed a desire to re-do the judge’s panel and return to three judges.
DeGeneres served as a judge for only one season. With no musical background, she offered very little useful or interesting advice for the contestants. She often seemed to squirm uncomfortably when she heard a bad performance. And she’d often resort to saying things as pedestrian as “That was great!” In other words, she was usually less insightful than some random person picked from the audience. At best, she’d throw in a funny quip here and there but if that were the case, have her take Ryan Seacrest’s job!
Here’s her statement in the release:
“A couple months ago, I let Fox and the “American Idol” producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” said DeGeneres. “I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, 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. 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.”
Some reports say she was willing to stay as recently as last week so it’s unclear if she was pressured to leave. The release also included a couple of requisite “sorry to see her go” quotes from executives:
“It was a joy to work with Ellen,” added Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “She brought an incredible spirit to IDOL and was a great new addition to the team. While we’re saddened by her decision, we are very appreciative that she gave us ample notice so that we could work through it together.”
“I loved Ellen’s passion for the artists and her nurturing skills,” said “Idol” creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly.”
Deadline Hollywood, which is more reliable than a lot of Web sites, released at 9:30 p.m. EST Thursday night that Lopez will be judging season 10 contestants. (Lisa de Moraes at the Washington Post has sources saying it’s not quite a done deal.) I don’t have much of a feel for what she’d be like as a judge. She was a guest mentor season six, but she didn’t leave a deep impression on me. The timing might be right for J.Lo. Her music and film careers have been on a steady decline the past few years. Her most recent film “The Back Up Plan” bombed and her label dropped her earlier this year while her seventh album wasn’t even released. And did you hear her last single “Louboutins”? Painful!
I found the intro video of J.Lo from season six on YouTube:
She appeared to help out Sanjaya Malakar with his best performance: “Besame Mucho.”
She tries to get Blake Lewis to instill some passion into her hubby Marc Anthony’s “I Need to Know” and he actually does pretty well:
This infamous moment at the American Music Awards last year symbolizes her literal downfall:
Tyler is a big name and a larger-than-life personality. I could see him being witty. I just have never seen him in that situation so it’s hard to say if he’d work or not. He has never done a guest mentoring job on “Idol.”