Ellen DeGeneres' American Idol Debut

How Will Ellen's Judging Comments Compare with Simon Cowell?

She started as a stand up comedian, then turned actor, then turned afternoon show host. From the start Ellen DeGeneres was embraced by the public.

So when another show started looking around for a new judge, the woman who spent every post-American-Idol afternoon analyzing or talking to ousted contestants, will now be doing that in an official capacity. The new judge takes her seat on American Idol Tuesday Night for the first time.

"She's fired up about Idol. She's a big fan of the show and she thinks she's going to surprise a lot of people with her critiques because, she's not a mean person, but she's an honest person," said Mario Lopez, Extra Host.

"Sometimes we clashed on things. I felt strongly, there were a couple of people I would have put through that didn't get put through, I mean all the way. I felt really badly about that," said Ellen DeGeneres, New American Idol Judge.

Already the judging sparks are flying.

In a video posted on the American Idol Web site, DeGeneres says Cowell is "actually meaner than I thought. It's hard to listen to him tell people things and for me not to go, `You poor thing!'"

"I totally agree when the judges don't get along. I don't know if it's a better show, it's a more entertaining show," according to Mario Lopez, Extra Host.

Ellen also says the hours on Idol are longer than she had expected, but she's not giving up her day job.

Regarding her new post: "It's interesting to get behind the curtain of Oz," said Ellen DeGeneres, New American Idol Judge.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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