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Fox rejects idea Ellen DeGeneres not qualified for 'American Idol'


By Christopher Rocchio, 09/11/2009 

Fox reality chief Mike Darnell claims there's no merit in criticizing new American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres for her lack of experience when it comes to critiquing musical talent.

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"Blah blah blah. We think that's silly," Darnell told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.

"We already got three judges. We used to only have three who have enormously long musical backgrounds. She brings something different. She brings her wit and love of music. She has a vision of what she likes and doesn't like. Really, does it matter? It's about America voting. She's going to add a different flavor, that's the whole idea."

Fox announced on Wednesday that it had tapped DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul -- who last month used her Twitter page to announce that she would not be returning as a judge for the show's ninth season.
The network reportedly inked DeGeneres to a five-year deal that will have her serve as an Idol judge through the show's thirteenth season.

Darnell described DeGeneres as an "ideal" choice to serve as the show's fourth judge.

"She's a huge entertainer. She's funny and witty and people adore her. She brings all of that to the show," he told The Reporter.  "She loves music, she loves the television show. There was no reason not to do it. She's a huge name."

In addition, Darnell said he thinks DeGeneres will fit right in with Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuradi.

"She loves the show. She's going to be pure joy," he told The Reporter.  "I'm sure she'll have some jokes, but so do others on the panel. This is not like she's coming on to be sarcastic about it. She adores the show. She votes at home, she's a rabid fan who happens to be one of the biggest stars in the world."

Although she missed this summer's nationwide auditions, DeGeneres is expected to participate in the competition's pre-taped "Hollywood Week" round assuming her schedule permits it,  Idol executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz told The New York Times Thursday. 

While it has usually filmed in November, "Hollywood Week" will take place in January this year, according to Frot-Coutaz.



(Photo credit Fox)


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