Ellen DeGeneres Defends Her New 'American Idol' Gig

'I've spent my whole life being judged,' talk-show host says of her qualifications for 'Idol.'

With months still to go until her debut on "American Idol," Ellen DeGeneres decided to hit back against folks who doubt she has what it takes to hold her own at the judges' table.

On the Tuesday (September 22) airing of her syndicated talk show, the comedian delivered an opening monologue that was alternately sincere and jokey as she defended her judging chops and made clear what kind of judge she planned to be.

"Apparently, there's a lot of debate going on right now whether I'm qualified or not to be the new judge on 'American Idol,' " she said. "I'll tell you right now how I know I'm going to be a great judge: because I've spent my whole life being judged. So I know what it's like."

Ellen didn't stay serious for long. "The things people are saying — I thought we've moved past this," she declared. "We have the first African-American president. We've sworn in our first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. I think 'American Idol' is ready for their first blond judge."

Explaining that she refused to internalize any negative comments about her upcoming gig, the talk-show host said, "I will be kind. I will be compassionate. I will be empathetic and I will be truthful. I will be an honest judge without being mean."

She also addressed the parody Paula Abdul staged Thursday night on "VH1 Divas," when the former "Idol" judge donned a blond wig and imitated Ellen's signature dance routines. After playing the clip, Ellen said, "I have nothing but love for you too, Paula. But I want my wig back. I really do. Give it back!"

Ellen ended the monologue with a simple bit of advice, saying, "I try to remember what my momma said: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, just dance.' "

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