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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 10

Ellen DeGeneres: I'll probably become a tougher 'American Idol' judge

By Christopher Rocchio, 06/09/2010 

Ellen DeGeneres feels that she'll only improve as an American Idol judge, which may not be good news for future contestants.

"Your first year anywhere is going to be tough, because you're trying to figure out what your role is," she told USA Today in a Wednesday report.

"I think next year my role will be to be exactly who I am, sometimes funny and sometimes serious, and I think I'll probably learn to be a little harder on people without being rude. But I think it was a fine line for me to walk this year."

DeGeneres' first year as a member of American Idol's judging panel also coincided with Simon Cowell's final installment on the Fox reality series, and she said his absence next season will also lead to changes.

"It's always been Simon's show. There's a whole dynamic there," she explained to USA Today. "You want to be respectful, and it was his last year, and so a lot was going on that needed to happen. I think next year will be a different year."

While Cowell's replacement has been a hot topic of conversation in recent months, DeGeneres cautioned people about thinking of it as "Simon's replacement."

"No one can replace Simon, just like I wasn't replacing Paula," DeGeneres told USA Today, alluding to the fact that she joined American Idol's judging panel a month after Paula Abdul announced she was leaving the show.

DeGeneres said both American Idol ninth-season winner Lee Dewyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox are "extremely talented" but understands why he won.

"It's not just a singing competition. It's personality, charisma," she told USA Today. "I think Lee won because he was able to reach a lot more people, because he showed his heart a little bit more."

In addition, DeGeneres said she is also eager to join American Idol for its upcoming tenth-season auditions, something she was unable to do with the ninth season because she was tapped to serve on the judging panel too late in the process.

"I'm hoping to find more unique people who never would have maybe been given a chance to be on the show," she told USA Today.

"I like the fact that Crystal was on the show this year and wouldn't have necessarily been on before. I want to find more dynamic people and more interesting people."

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