Ellen DeGeneres Replacing Paula Abdul on Idol

Ellen DeGeneres

Gilbert Flores/CelebrityPhoto

09/09/2009 AT 8:30 PM ET

Ellen DeGeneres is taking Paula Abdul’s place as the fourth judge on American Idol.

“DeGeneres will sit alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi and offer her own unique perspective to the contestants throughout the competition,” Fox television says in a statement.

DeGeneres, 51, begins her stint after the audition rounds, which have featured a rotating group of celebrity guest judges including Shania Twain, Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Joe Jonas and Kristin Chenoweth.

Two Jobs

“I’m going to have a day job and a night job,” DeGeneres said at her talk show taping Wednesday, assuring her audience that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will continue. “This is so exciting for me.”

Abdul abruptly announced in August, just before the start of American Idol’s ninth season, that with “sadness in my heart” she was leaving the highly rated show hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

In the taping for Thursday’s Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres said the deal had been in the works for the last couple of weeks. “I’ve been dying to tell everyone,” she says. “It’s just been so hard to keep it a secret and we just finally got the OK and I’m so excited. It is going to be so much fun.”


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