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Ellen DeGeneres on possible Cowell 'Idol' exit: "If Simon goes, I go!"


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/11/2010 

Ellen DeGeneres apparently has little interest in serving as an American Idol judge without Simon Cowell by her side.

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"If Simon goes, I go! I will not be there without Simon," said DeGeneres in an Entertainment Weekly cover story interview in the magazine's January 15 issue.

"I'll be like a monkey on his back wrapped around his neck: You will not go!"

DeGeneres signed a five-year contract to serve as American Idol's fourth judge last September, however rumors have been circulating that Cowell might leave the Fox reality competition after his current contract expires at the end of the upcoming ninth season to instead focus on launching his U.K. The X Factor reality series stateside.

Cowell -- who also participated in the EW interview -- said DeGeneres' declaration that she'll leave if he does puts him in "quite a tricky situation."

"I think right now we have to concentrate on the next season and just get through that and worry about everything else afterwards," he told EW.

DeGeneres was tapped to serve as an American Idol judge after Paula Abdul announced that she would not be returning as a judge for the show's ninth season. DeGeneres reiterated previous comments that she doesn't want fans to feel that she took Abdul's job.

"A lot of people loved Paula, and I don't want to be the person that took Paula's job away from her. Which I wasn't," she told EW.

"I'm not going to be able to please everyone. I gave up trying to do that a long time ago. I am who I am. People either like me or they don't like me, and It's got nothing to do if I'm a new judge on Idol."

DeGeneres served as a So You Think You Can Dance guest judge during a July broadcast of the series, however she said that she expects her American Idol judging experience -- which will begin with the ninth season's "Hollywood Week" round, which tapes this week -- to be different for both herself and viewers.

"I don't know anything about dance, so I just really did focus on making it funny," she told EW.

"But it's a totally different thing [from] singing. And I will be funny [on Idol] -- if something's obnoxious or stupid and there's a joke to be made, that's what I do first and foremost. But I'll have more to say about a singer -- with singing, it'll be funny, but there will also be true, honest critiquing."

DeGeneres has previously stated she'll be "honest" but "not mean" as a judge, but she said there is one thing she won't be able to "tolerate."

"It's unbelievable that people don't have any respect. They go on a show, they know they're going to be judged, that's what the entire show is about, and yet they tell you you're wrong," she explained to EW.

"It's just rude and disrespectful and not okay. So that's not going to happen on my dime."

DeGeneres added the difference between her and Cowell is that he is "mean to people sometimes."

"So I think I'll be hard, but if he's rude, I'm going to let him know he's rude," she told EW.

DeGeneres said she originally considered not participating in the ninth season's "Hollywood Week" round, which will begin airing with American Idol's February 9 broadcast.

"I was going to wait until the live shows, but I thought it was better for me to know who these people are before we get to the live shows," she told EW. "So I've been looking at all the tapes, and I'm aware of who made it to Hollywood Week, and I will be part of that."

(Photo credit Fox)


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