Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘American Idol’ Debut: The Experts Weigh In
Taking the place of a beloved character on a long-running TV show is never easy. But on Tuesday night, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres appeared to easily slide into the memorial Paula Abdul seat on “American Idol” without disrupting the show’s flow, pleasantly surprising many of the “Idol” faithful who spent months fretting over how the Emmy-winning comedian would fit into the mix.
Ellen DeGeneres Is Firm, Funny On ‘American Idol’ Debut
Ellen DeGeneres kicked off her debut as the new “American Idol” judge in impressive fashion on Tuesday night (Feb. 9), bringing a healthy dose of honest critiques and well-timed punchlines to the first night of Hollywood auditions.
Before even the first note was sung, though, DeGeneres started her “Idol” tenure by addressing the 181 aspiring finalists gathered in the Kodak Theater. “People say, ‘What do you know about music?'” DeGeneres said. “I’ll tell you what I do know. I do know what it’s like to stand onstage and try to please an entire room full of people. That is a hard thing to do.”
‘American Idol’ Recap: Ell(en) Yeah!
As an homage to my frequent Idolatry cohost and EW’s resident tastemaker Jessica Shaw, I’d like to kick off this American Idol recap ‘Shaw Report’ style:
In: Ellen DeGeneres; Five Minutes Ago: Simon Cowell; Out: Randy Jackson. (Yes, Kara you just dodged a bullet.)
In: Acoustic Guitars; Five Minutes Ago: Keyboards; Out: (Sorry, Paula fans!) Seal-Clapping.
In: Excitement Over Season 9; Five Minutes Ago: Longing Over Season 8; Out: Panicking Over X-Factor.
(Please do not interpret that last statement to mean that I’m going to stop making Kradison references for the foreseeable future. Heck, no! Also: #signmattgiraud! And #signfrenchiedavis, too, dammit!)
More Recaps after the JUMP…
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‘American Idol’ Recap: Ellen DeGeneres Saves Hollywood
Tuesday night (February 9) kicked off Hollywood Week(s) on “American Idol, ” an always-magical time when the dead weight from the early audition episodes gets kicked to the curb faster than you can say “SkiiBoSki.”
This season’s first Hollywood Week (or Hollyweek) episode was especially epic because it introduced us to an eye-opening new element on the judge’s panel that will change the way I view the show forever: The Coke cups were replaced with Vitamin Water Zero bottles. I know! What happened to our show, you guys?
Oh, and I suppose Ellen DeGeneres made her “Idol” judging debut, too.
Hollywood Week Day 1: sudden death
And there it is, “Idol” fans. Hollywood week is upon us with a new judge in the wings. Was Ellen DeGeneres’ arrival slightly anti-climactic or did she provide enough comic relief to fill the void of unintentionally funny Paula Abdul? My full Ellen analysis will come later, but in the spirit of tonight’s sudden death episode, some quick thoughts about those with true Top 12 potential, and a tearful goodbye to once promising hopefuls Maegan Wright and Maddy Curtis. Sniff.
Ann Powers: Less Ellen, more guitars
Hollywood Week’s big news turned out a fizzle Tuesday night — not because Ellen DeGeneres was bad, or offensive, or much of anything, as a judge, but because she seamlessly fit into the patter and often meaningless “critique” at the judges’ table, the way a bottle of San Pellegrino fits in on a Beverly Hills brunch table. Quietly bubbly and refreshing enough, DeGeneres said nothing of consequence.
I don’t mean that as an insult, as much as a reminder that real musical critique issued from the judges’ table is only the tiniest and most optional ingredient, the dish of salt on that brunch table; and although well-deployed bon mots matter more, even those don’t matter much at this point. For Ellen, the test will come when the show goes live and she’s thinking on her feet, interacting with the studio audience as well as the Idol strivers and her fellow experts.
Ellen debuts as ‘Idol’ judge
Everybody knows it was Ellen DeGeneres who was really being judged on American Idol Tuesday night. The comedic daytime talk-show host’s big debut as the replacement judge for Paula Abdul was the talk of Tinseltown and beyond.
So how did she fare when she took her seat next to Simon Cowell in the Kodak Theater for Part 1 of the reality TV sing-off’s Hollywood Round?
Here are five of my initial observations:
‘American Idol’ Is No Longer Waiting On Hollywood To Change
The narrative-free purgatory that is ‘American Idol‘’s season-opening block of audition episode came to a merciful close last week, and tonight brought us the first episode featuring the Hollywood Round. Rejoice, fellow ‘Idol’ viewers — finally, we have narrative, drama, and perhaps even a few more fleshed-out backstories hopefuls!
This year, Hollywood also introduced a few changes to the ‘Idol’ firmament: Not only were the Coke cups that have been fixtures of the judges’ table for so long swapped out for cans of Vitaminwater Zero — a sugar-free sister product that’s being rolled into your local grocery store pretty soon — one of them was reserved for Ellen DeGeneres, who was given Paula Abdul’s slot after Paula departed the show last summer.
Here Comes The Judge: Ellen DeGeneres Makes Her ‘Idol’ Debut
Sure, Simon Cowell has always been the real star of American Idol, and former judge Paula Abdul certainly had her share of memorable TV moments over the last eight seasons. But in season 9 (a season that, if I’m being honest, didn’t offer a huge number of real standout singers until tonight), the focus has been on the Idol judges more than ever before. From Paula’s departure to Simon’s announcement of his imminent resignation, from the many rotating celebrity guest judges to all the gossip about Simon’s possible replacement (Howard Stern? Elton John? Diddy?), the real drama this season has taken place behind the judging table, not in front of it.
Hollywood brings changes for ‘American Idol’
The winter weather may be bringing another 20 inches of snow to the Washington, D.C., area, but never fear! The “American Idol” coverage cannot be denied by the worst winter to hit the region in 20 years. But if you don’t hear anything from me tomorrow, send help. And snow shovels.
It does make me jealous for the people who got to go to Hollywood, where it’s presumably warm. And it’s even worse because this season’s Hollywood round offered a new spark that the last few years have lacked.
How Did Ellen DeGeneres Do During Her ‘American Idol’ Debut?
“So this is it, ” Ellen DeGeneres said, staring into fellow judge Simon Cowell’s eyes as they sat down for the first day of Hollywood singing on Tuesday night’s (February 9) “American Idol.” “I come on, you leave.”
And with that, that newest member of the “Idol” panel quickly made her mark on day one of work, immediately putting to rest weeks of chatter about Cowell’s imminent leave-taking at the end of this season and establishing what seems like a good-natured, jokey tension between the two new co-workers.
Hollywood Round 1
So how did we like Ellen her first time at the judges’ table? Since the episode didn’t overly focus on her other than at the very beginning, it was hard to tell, but I was pleasantly surprised by her ability to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t love it, ” since on her stint on So You Think You Can Dance she didn’t want to say anything bad to anyone. She explained that her expertise came from her ability to stand on a stage and please a roomful of people, which was helpful when she was telling Skiiboski not to be so creepily aggressive, yet I wonder where that skill was when it was time to tell Crystal Bowersox to get rid of the white-girl dreadlocks.
Ellen DeGeneres makes long-awaited debut on ‘Idol’
In theory, anticipation for a brand! new! judge! on “American Idol” should be higher than ever, especially after months of speculation about how Ellen DeGeneres would fare on the show. But thanks to weeks of run-of-the-mill auditions, useless guest judges, and the fact that Simon Cowell is completely checked out, excitement for Ellen’s first night seems rather muted.
Actually, she doesn’t have much of a chance to make a first impression. Though she shows promise — not afraid to make a snarky comment, and also provide criticism that isn’t stream of consciousness or plain gibberish — the producers have lots of contestant breakdown material to squeeze into the first episode of Hollywood Week, and Ellen doesn’t get a generous amount of screen time. In fact, they skip the typical “Idol” celebrity intro package, usually with glamour shots and a laundry list of accomplishments. Producers do, however, immediately address the most pressing question involving their new judge: “Um, what does Ellen DeGeneres know about music?”
Ellen DeGeneres’ ‘Idol’ Debut Delights Fans
LOS ANGELES — Ellen DeGeneres hit the right notes with “American Idol” viewers.
Fans took to the Internet to express their pleasant surprise over the 52-year-old funnylady’s debut as the singing competition’s fourth judge. DeGeneres assumed her judging panel post for Tuesday’s episode chronicling the first round of “Hollywood Week, ” the cutthroat post-audition phase in which 181 contestants will be narrowed down to 24 semifinalists.
The majority of folks posting about DeGeneres on Twitter praised her performance. Some said they were only tuning in for DeGeneres, but not everyone was a devotee. A denim ensemble worn by Degeneres, also host of “The Ellen Degeneres Show, ” was mocked by a few tweeters.
Ellen brings breath of fresh air to stale ‘Idol’
The Ellen DeGeneres era is officially under way on “American Idol.” Thank the Lord.
It was time for the comedian, talk-show host and dance enthusiast to take center stage on Tuesday night, as Ellen made her long-awaited “Idol” debut in Hollywood. As soon as she was introduced, it was evident that she added a needed breath of fresh air to a dynamic that had gotten to be predictable and stale.
There wasn’t much time to focus on her specifically, as “Idol” devoted most of the hour to the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat among the auditioners, but early returns were promising. Anyone worried that she’d have nothing to offer or that she’d be overwhelmed by Simon Cowell and the other judges had nothing to fear. In fact, she’s an upgrade over Paula Abdul in every sense of the word.
Ellen a Lot More Helpful Than Paula’s Verbal Diarrhea
Take the bickering of “The Real World” roommates, mix it with the reluctant teamwork of “The Biggest Loser” contestants pushing each other in wheelbarrows and add enough coffee and insomnia to make you think that you’re watching an episode of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” What do you get? Hollywood Week on “American Idol!”
Last night kicked off one of my “Idol” favorite phases because this is when our favorite classy yet cheesy competitive reality series mirrors some of its trailer trash cousins. (No offense, Kellie Pickler.) Seacrest and Company keep it relatively tasteful throughout the rest of the season, but Hollywood Week is when the contestants provide us with more pathos than even the most dramatic rose ceremony … (ever!).
“American Idol” recap: Ellen’s debut
It seemed like we had to wait an eternity for Ellen to join Randy, Kara and Simon on “American Idol.” But finally, she arrived.
She walked onto the stage at the impressive Kodak Theater in Hollywood, and I gasped. What was with Ellen’s hair? Her hair looked like a scene from “There’s Something About Mary.” Then she snuggled up to Simon, and there were some smoldering looks between the two of them. I had the strong suspicion that Simon had something to do with Ellen’s hair!
“So this is it, ” Ellen said, gazing deeply into Simon’s eyes. “I come on, you leave.”
This wasn’t the only clever comment Ellen made during her debut. Here’s a small but tasty sampling:
“Sorry, I wasn’t listening.”
Ellen DeGeneres’ debut makes her American Idol’s best judge
Last night, American Idol ushered in a new era. A major change at the judges’ table changed everything, and was really surprising and unexpected: The Coca-Cola cups were gone, replaced by oddly shaped orange and white Vitamin Water Zero cups. Even though that’s a Coca-Cola product, and even though those iconic red cups will be back for the live shows, it’s still a big shift.
Oh: And Ellen DeGeneres was amazing in her debut as the new fourth judge. She went from question mark to great immediately, sitting down and telling Simon Cowell, “So this is it, huh? I come on, you leave?” (Her debut was taped shortly after Simon announced to TV critics that he was leaving, and rumors that his tardiness led to tension didn’t seem evident at all.)