Ellen Degeneres Chats with Ryan Seacrest, Discusses Her Idol Debut

Ellen Degeneres called into the Ryan Seacrest KIIS-FM radio show this morning to chat about her debut as Idol judge. The Hollywood Rounds kick off on American Idol tonight.

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She didn’t directly address the rumors that she and Simon aren’t getting along, but she certainly is playing up the differences in their personalities and judging styles. She calls Simon a smart, funny guy and admits he’s going to be “a challenge”. And then candidly states, “It’ll be good TV.”

Makes me wonder if TPTB are the peeps planting the Ellen-Simon rumors to drum up interest in the show. Hm.

Commenting on the talent, Ellen says the judges have advanced a “very great eclectic group of people.” and she’s surprised by how little experience some of them have. She knows from experience that it’s a very hard process for somebody who hasn’t auditioned before to hear “no”.

She plans to be honest, but with humor to cushion the blow. As a comedian, Ellen knows what it’s like to try to impress a room full of people, and then get judged harshly.

The live shows will be fun and exciting, Ellen thinks, and the plan is to travel next summer to all the audition cities.

Ellen’s got empathy for these kids, but she’s going to be a very different judge than Paula Abdul. If a contestant stinks, Ellen won’t be telling them they look nice. And I don’t think she’ll be taking any condescending crap from Simon. Should be interesting.

I was pretty tough on Ellen when the news first broke, but I’m willing to keep an open mind for now. What do you think?

Listen to the interview after the jump…

BONUS Video: Randy Jackson talks to FOX Atlanta about Ellen, Hollywood Week. And, of course a Girl Will Win (for the “Zen Oneness of it All” (!!!)

Ellen Degeneres – Ryan Seacrest

ETA:

Randy Jackson on Fox Atlanta, talks about Hollywood Week, and a girl will win…

About mj santilli 33693 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

32 Comments

  1. Could be good. I’m intersted to see, and might tune in for it. However using ‘comedy to cushion the blow,’ is a bit of red flag, given how schticky and jokey she was on SYTYCD. If she can avoid that too much? could be fine.

  2. I’m excited about Ellen, can’t wait until tonight. Finally the bad auditions are over, and we can hear the good singers. Though usually in Hollywood there are some real stinkers and one wonders, how did they ever get that golden ticket?

  3. However using ‘comedy to cushion the blow,’ is a bit of red flag, given how schticky and jokey she was on SYTYCD.

    Having the memory of her mike-hogging comedy schtick on SYTYCD, I’m also skeptical. Even though I like Ellen a lot, usually, and have heard that she is indeed very interested in music and knows a lot about contemporary artists. …

    Just as long as they don’t let *any* of the judges talk too much. But of course, they will let them talk to much. Kara and Simon, especially, will probably talk even *more* attempting to make sure they aren’t upstaged by the new, actual superstar in their midst, I fear.

  4. I was pretty tough on Ellen when the news first broke, but I’m willing to keep an open mind for now. What do you think?

    I’m pretty ambivalent about this choice as well. But, I’m also willing to give it a chance. And, I won’t make a snap decision about her either. I like Ellen well enough to give her a few episodes to get acclimated. I know she has a much more varied vocabulary than Randy, so that’s a plus.

    Also, Ellen is someone who knows what it’s like to be on stage, with the spotlight focused solely on you, and be forced to live and die on your talent alone. She spent a lot of years doing stand-up in front of very large crowds. I’m sure she had a bad night or two. That experience should give her an interesting perspective.

  5. Seriously what is not to like about Ellen? I honestly think people need to give her a chance before doubting her as a judge. How bad can she be really? Are we really going to miss Paula’s comments? Are we really going to miss how Simon and Paula interacted? NO. How can Ellen not be better than Randy? Please. She cannot be more annoying than Kara? Can she?
    She is going to be great…can’t wait.

  6. I was ticked when I first heard the news about Ellen, but over time I’ve gotten a little excited to see just what the show is like with her. I think it’ll be fun, but I hope she doesn’t get irritating.

  7. How bad can she be really? Are we really going to miss Paula’s comments? Are we really going to miss how Simon and Paula interacted? NO. How can Ellen not be better than Randy? Please. She cannot be more annoying than Kara? Can she?

    Randy is a moron. I am among the few who do not find Kara annoying at all. I actually rather like her. I do not miss Paula one bit, as I think she is a complete nutter with nothing of value to say. I love Ellen as a person, but as Lucy mentioned, I did not enjoy her guest judging on SYTYCD. Perhaps that’s because I prefer a more technical critique on that show, and she’s really not equipped for that (not being a dancer and all)? I’m not sure.

    I prefer real judging on AI too. That’s the main reason I’m glad Paula’s gone. So, while I enjoy the funny, I’m hoping there’s some relevant content mixed in with it too. I’m prepared to enjoy Ellen on AI, I’m just a bit cautious is all.

  8. For me, I am not going to base ‘what to expect from Ellen’ on her SYTYCD guest spot. From what I understand, she was initially there just to watch the live show and they invited her down to the judges table, so she was not there from a technical standpoint at all.

    No, she will not be able to be technical on AI since she doesn’t sing, but I do think she’ll take what she’s saying, esp. to the contestants very seriously. I’m really looking forward to tonight!!!

    I think she’s right too in her viewpoint that the four judges could not be more different from each other. (I forget how she said this exactly.)

  9. She cannot be more annoying than Kara? Can she?

    I don’t think anyone could be more annoying than Kara.

    That said, I’m excited to see what Ellen brings to the table. T’will definitely be interesting.

  10. Totally agree, SpenserJ I’m not going to miss Paula at all, and have been quite excited about Ellen’s addition to the panel. Not to mention, I don’t find Kara annoying either. I’m actually a huge fan, and find her to be the most knowledgeable and insightful judge on the entire panel. But like people have said, how can you not like Ellen? Having her presence there is just going to be really great and exciting. I honestly feel that by the end of the season, people will care even less then they do now that Paula isn’t there.

  11. The hopeful part is that, as a person and tv personality, I generally find Ellen smart, charming, and not at all annoying. Not something I feel about Randy, Simon (except for the smart part), Kara, or, mostly, Paula.

    I’m not sure she’ll be a great judge — but except for the very real possibility that her presence will tempt the others to blather more, I don’t think there’s any possible way she could actually drag the panel *down.* …. That’s not saying much, of course. …

    I might support arming her with tranquilizer darts to shoot at the other three if, in her judgment, they start splathering nonsense. Of course, nine nights out of 10 that would take Randy out on the very first contestant. And not a bad thing, either.

  12. Ellen the person, the one without the tv show schtick, appears to be a pretty honest and blunt person. If she is willing to not always be the nice, funny judge then I think she will have lots of valuable input for the contestants. I’ve long thought the judging panel needed a middle ground between Simon’s dismissive brutal honesty and Paula’s “WTF did she just say” style. Kara and Randy haven’t filled that niche. Maybe Ellen will.

  13. Saying no with a bit of humor? Sounds like she is willing to make a joke at a contestant’s expense. How about saying no with a bit of kindness or maybe some helpful advice. What contestant wants a joke at hearing ‘no’. Overreaction on my part?…..maybe, but I haven’t been impressed with any of her pre-idol interviews and this didn’t help.

    I am not that hopeful about Ellen but like some others, I can’t imagine I will dislike her any more than I dislike Kara.

  14. Makes me wonder if TPTB are the peeps planting the Ellen-Simon rumors to drum up interest in the show. Hm.

    *gasps* They’d never!

    I wouldn’t be surprised, either.

    I’m interested in seeing what Ellen brings. She should make more sense than Paula ever did but whether she’s able to give meaningful critiques is another question.

    I hope Kara gives more meaningful critiques this year now that she’s used to the process a little more. I’m one who was hoping she’d be given another chance this year to find her place and I thought TPTB were unfairly ganging up against her. But I haven’t been impressed by her in the audition cities. So far she seems like she has the prejudices you’d expect from a major label exec.

  15. I think Kara can be extremely annoying at times, but I’ve always liked her and still root for her to improve. I think Ellen will be great (but I’m biased because I LOVE her), but we’ll see soon enough, won’t we? Can’t wait :).

  16. Randy as a person maybe he is a nice guy as a judge like a broken record caught in a grove . Ellen not a big fan of hers did not see the SYTYCD episode so can’t judge her on that..I think this will add something new to the show and time will tell if it works or not. One thing not mentioned about the judges allot is chemistry or if it has an awkward feeling.

  17. Of course, nine nights out of 10 that would take Randy out on the very first contestant. And not a bad thing, either.

    Too true, my friend. I think I would likely enjoy seeing Randy take a tranq dart to the ass a few times though :).

    So far she seems like she has the prejudices you’d expect from a major label exec.

    I think that might be reason I’m sympathetic to Kara – I really can’t blame her for that attitude. Seems to me, she’s just facing reality. All it takes is one Kelly Clarkson post around these parts, and the 47 comments about her weight, not enough make-up, bad clothes, etc. to see that Kara knows what America wants from their pop stars. It’s not Kara who’s decided that people need to be the total “package”. It’s her experience in the music business telling her that’s what people are more likely to buy.

    Granted, we’re not all like that. And, plenty of homely people have had hit records. But, for the most part, just like how studies show that the more attractive applicant will get the job, a cute face and a hot bod do seem to ease the road to Platinum just a tad.

    And sometimes, in addition to looks, I think Kara is also referencing that undefinable “It” quality, or charisma that draws people to a performer. The judges can’t just judge people on raw vocal ability, because that’s not the only criteria we viewers use to vote. Sometimes an interesting voice with a little more character is more desirable than straight, pitch-perfect one.

  18. And sometimes, in addition to looks, I think Kara is also referencing that undefinable “It” quality, or charisma that draws people to a performer. The judges can’t just judge people on raw vocal ability, because that’s not the only criteria we viewers use to vote. Sometimes an interesting voice with a little more character is more desirable than straight, pitch-perfect one.

    Yeah, I agree that Kara is trying to be the “voice of the industry,” the same way Simon is, and I think that, in fact, both of them are more often than not right about the kind of industry-norms-judging that they’re promoting. ….

    What generally bugs me about Kara, I guess, (when she bugs me, which is not always) is more what looks to me to be an attitude of smugness, kind of largely unearned arrogance, and “I’m the cutest most adorablest, smartest little girl in the 5th grade but also sexy” vibe that I get from her. And of course my getting that vibe from her over the television doesn’t in the least mean that that’s what she’s actually like as a person or even what she’s projecting. … That fact doesn’t make the vibe any less grating to me, of course!

    I do wish that she would say more about the performances than just “you’re a package artist,” though. Seems to me she relies too much on industry cliches when there are some other things to say. …. Saying that over and over for Megan Joy didn’t help my impression of Kara much, I must say….

    I would expect Ellen to have a bit more of a taste for the offbeat, so maybe she’ll see different people as the “whole package” than Kara and Simon do, so that could be interesting.

  19. Re Kara:

    and find her to be the most knowledgeable and insightful judge on the entire panel.

    ITA!

    ETA: Who’s Paula?

  20. And of course my getting that vibe from her over the television doesn’t in the least mean that that’s what she’s actually like as a person or even what she’s projecting. … That fact doesn’t make the vibe any less grating to me, of course!

    I’ve not personally had that vibe from Kara, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve experienced getting a strange vibe from someone on tv that annoys me, even if I can’t pinpoint why I feel that way. Just because I can’t prove it’s true, does not make them bug me less. In fact, it happens to me quite often with the contestants. That’s why I love this show, it lets me release all that snark I bottle up in real life :).

  21. Using Kelly Clarkson as an example of why Kara is justified for emphazing looking for ‘the total package’ doesn’t work with me. There were a couple of female contestants that Kara liked mostly for how they looked IMO and that bugged me. Regardless of people posting about Kelly’s weight, lack of makeup, clothing choices, etc, it doesn’t result in people not buying her music or attending her concerts. Doesn’t bother her fans at all.

    But I sure do agree that some simply have the ‘it’ factor. And it can’t be manufactured or explained even though we might differ about who has ‘it’.

  22. Having the memory of her mike-hogging comedy schtick on SYTYCD, I’m also skeptical.

    Theres a lot you can say about Ellen’s SYTYCD performance, but I honestly don’t know where the “mike-hogging” comes from. She was far more brief than Nigel, Mary, and Mia. (For good reason, there wasn’t a lot she could say technically.)

    And I will always applaud her for A:) Standing up to Nigel after his dismissive comment about Evan’s sleepy face, and B:) just uttering a single sentence after the Breast Cancer Dance about how it moved her and how beautiful it was.

    For me, on SYTYCD she demonstrated that she has the judgement to know when hold her ground and when to shut up. And in those departments she already has 3/4 of the previous panel beat.

  23. I enjoyed Ryan’s interview with Ellen. Maybe a first for me since I usually find him and his laugh track girls annoying.

    I think Ellen will do fine. I expect she’ll come into her own when the live judging comes into play. Her SYTYCD guest judging was a fiasco. But I think that was mostly since she knows so little about dance. She knows a lot more about music and seems to have fairly eclectic tastes.

    I’m hoping to see her put Simon in his place a time or two.

  24. Theres a lot you can say about Ellen’s SYTYCD performance, but I honestly don’t know where the “mike-hogging” comes from. She was far more brief than Nigel, Mary, and Mia. (For good reason, there wasn’t a lot she could say technically.)

    Yep, you’re right that she said way less than they did. ….

    I guess I was so annoyed — and shocked, actually — that to my mind everything she said was jokey and useless (and this surprised me, because I like Ellen a lot usually), that her taking the mike to say it at *all* bugged me unreasonably!

    She started off on a bad note to me because, as I recall, one of her early comments seemed to back the stupid studio audience in booing Nigel just because he was criticizing somebody. And it truly drives me nuts that people in the audiences seem to think that you should be able to perform on a competition show without anybody criticizing you! … I also sort of fuzzily recall that the particular criticism he was making may have been one of his dumber ones — but the audience booing still offends me because it generally seems to happen whether or not it’s a dumb criticism or not…. They just boo most all criticisms — and I put that down to our stupid cultural heritage of wanting everybody to be praised all the time in the interest of “self esteem” without any relationship to the quality of what they’re producing!

    Anyway, she just shouldn’t have been sitting on that panel, in my opinion, but I gather that it wasn’t entirely her fault that she was, so I can’t really blame her for that. …. She was *darned* jokey, though, I suppose because she felt she had nothing else concrete to say. And the jokeyness is what makes me a little uneasy when I hear her refer to jokes in describing her idol judging!

    I still have hopes that she may do a good job, though, and I don’t really blame her for the mess on SYTYCD — although I wouldn’t want to see that repeated!

  25. How bad can she be really? Are we really going to miss Paula’s comments? Are we really going to miss how Simon and Paula interacted? NO. How can Ellen not be better than Randy? Please. She cannot be more annoying than Kara? Can she?

    I’m glad you said that Ellen cannot do any worse of a job than the other judges are doing. Going to SYTYCD at least the judges on there actually know what there talking about they give constructive criticism, advice and actually try and help the contestants unlike this show. Randy just says the same thing over and over, Kara just talks, I have yet to see what Paula actually brought to the show cause I’m not missing her at all, and Simon just says what he doesn’t like he doesn’t offer any type of help on what the contestants can improve on, in fact none of them do. Also, the judges show favoritism all the time if they really like you they praise you to high heavens even if your performance was bad. And if your not one of the favorites they’ll say it wasn’t that good even though it was a great performance. I wasn’t that thrilled about Ellen in the beginning but now after thinking about it Randy, Kara, and Simon are not good judges at all so she can’t be worse than them.

  26. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ellen brings to the show. The judges roles are part TV entertainment, part chemistry and part helpful judging. Randy has dug this hole for himself that is familiar yet very tired. Kara didn’t seem to have much TV screen experience coming in last year and I thought floundered as a result. I’m hoping to see an improvement this year, but I have to say, I wasn’t so impressed in the auditions either. She had a couple of good moments, but also alot of useless or annoying ones.

    Ellen has the TV entertainment thing down and I think she will be a helpful judge, telling people the truth, both good and bad, in an accessible way. As long as she uses humor with a light touch, I think its a great way to ease into difficult-to-process information. The big unknown here is chemistry. From the interview, I got the impression that we can expect some tension on the panel. It sounds like her easy relationship with Ryan is balancing out the difficulties she’s encountered being part of the judging panel.

    Still, I’m very much looking forward to this season. I love Ellen and am interested to see how her addition along with Simon’s imminent departure changes dynamics which had been getting very dull. Maybe Randy and Kara will find room to grow out of the roles they’ve played in the past. If not, I’d like to see this be the last season for both of them. Then Ellen will be the lone veteran. Funny to think about at this moment of her first TV appearance on the show tonight.

  27. What do I think?

    I’m all about team Ellen this year. I’m already a big fan of hers.

    Plus, rooting for a contestant is just too stressful.

  28. considering some of the guest judges were surprise hits (im looking at you Shania, NHP), im willing to give Ellen a chance. honestly, i think ellen might show that randy and kara are useless as she will be trying to give advice and making a real effort. looking forward to tonite!

  29. Agreed. I’ve been assuming it was TPTB because Nikki Finke broke the story.

    The thing about Nikke Finke is that she has great sources. Not everything she publishes is true, but if she publishes something, it’s because someone highly placed gave it to her, and wants the story out.

    The Simon-Ellen “feud” has seemed contrived from the get-go. It’s TPTB trying to promote the “Ellen is going to stand up to Simon” storyline.

  30. Sorry, what I was trying to quote was this:

    “Makes me wonder if TPTB are the peeps planting the Ellen-Simon rumors to drum up interest in the show. Hm.”

  31. I love Ellen and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does as a judge. I think she may actually be a great breath of fresh air. She’s smart, she’s honest, she’s funny, and she’s got a good spirit about her. And I think we just might be surprised that she knows more than we think she does.

    It’s 5:50pm here on the west coast, so all of you east coasters are already forming your opinions in real time. I’m going to avoid reading the live blog thread before the broadcast, though, so that I can form my own opinion.

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