American Idol has found a replacement for Paula Abdul - beloved U.S. funnywoman Ellen Degeneres.
In a shock move, TV bosses have chosen the popular chatshow host and former sitcom star to take Abdul's spot as the fourth judge on the hit talent show, which is currently in its ninth season.
Abdul departed the show in August (09) after sitting on the panel since the show launched in 2002. A string of performers, including Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry and Mary J. Blige, have all made guest judge appearances during this year's (09) audition process.
But it is DeGeneres who will sit behind the desk permanently - and the star insists she will bring a "people's point of view" to the judging process.
Announcing the news at a taping for her daily U.S. chatshow on Wednesday (09Sep09), DeGeneres said, "I've been dying to tell everyone. It's just been so hard to keep it a secret and we just finally got the okay and I'm so excited. It is going to be so much fun.
"I have not missed one episode. Hopefully I'm the people's point of view because I'm just like you. I sit at home and I watch it. I'm not looking at it in a critical way from the producer's mind. I'm looking at it as a person who is going to buy the music and is going to relate to that person."
A statement from Fox, the network behind the show, says, "Ellen has been a fan of the show for many years, and her love of music and understanding of the American public will bring a unique human touch to our judging panel."