Huge Idol Shake-Ups: Ellen Quit, Kara Fired? J. Lo Hired?
Wow! What a difference overnight press releases make! First came the news that Ellen DeGeneres had quit American Idol, claiming it was "not a right fit" for her. Which...yeah totally true. She was absolutely not a right fit as a judge and contributed in part to the lackluster season. On her own website, DeGeneres released this statement regarding her departure:
A couple months ago, I let FOX and the "American Idol" producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn't leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on "Idol" and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.
Good for her at least for recognizing her limitations. Someone who could use similar self-awareness is Kara DioGuardi, who came aboard the Idol train in 2009, was not very popular with fans (and often gave completely wrong-headed, nonsense critiques) and still came back for another go-around in 2010. Now, TMZ is reporting that DioGuardi has been fired! TMZ also added this titbit: that the new judges panel will consist of Steven Tyler!, Jennifer Lopez!! and well...yeah, Randy Jackson (who really should have been the first to leave. Ellen and Kara were useless for one and two seasons respectively; Randy has been useless since the beginning of the show, IMO).
While the Tyler/Lopez additions are just rumors right now, the Jennifer Lopez rumor seems to have the most traction (although that could be because she's still a sexy super-star while Steven Tyler is a "who?" to the Justin Bieber set). Lopez potentially joining Idol was first reported by Deadline.
If all of these rumors are true, then Idol may actually have a chance to reboot in 2011. The departure of Simon Cowell will still be a huge blow, but lord knows Steven Tyler and J Lo are guaranteed to 1) be more entertaining and more useful than Randy and Kara and 2) fill the gap left by Paula Abdul who -- whatever one may think of her "talents" -- at least knew what it was like to be a pop star at one point. That pop star cred was sorely lacking this past season, which many thought was Idol's worst (capped off by a thoroughly unremarkable winner).
The only thing that has been completely confirmed is that Ellen has left the show. I like Ellen, but she really wasn't a good fit for Idol and unlike some people, she actually had the good sense to realize that and bow out gracefully. Your exit is everything in pop culture; better to quit with class than be fired. And that is precisely why Ellen will go on and still be cool, while Kara will likely be a Trivial Pursuit joke for years to come.