Comedian and talk show host Ellen
DeGeneres is bowing out as judge of American Idol, just one
year into her five year contract, Fox executives announced Thursday.
“Dim the lights,” she tweeted to
nearly 5 million followers. “I've voted myself off American
DeGeneres, who is openly lesbian, said
she had informed Idol producers of her decision a couple of
A heavy workload and an unease at
hurting contestant's feelings were cited as reasons behind her
DeGeneres is the second judge to exit
the show this year. Outspoken British judge Simon Cowell left the
show in May to concentrate on his own reality talent show The X
Factor, which is broadcast in
The surprise announcement leaves Idol,
which is facing slowly sagging ratings, with only two judges –
Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi – just weeks before the show
begins its 10th season auditions in September.
Rumors that the talent contest's
original executive producer, So
You Think You Can Dance Judge Nigel Lythgoe, is reportedly
close to closing a deal with Fox executives to return to the duties
he left two years ago have surfaced this week.
Lythgoe, who is expected to revamp the
show's judging panel, has previously named openly gay
singer-songwriter Elton John, Usher and former judge Paula Abdul as
his top picks to judge Idol.