Talk show queen and comedienne [artist id="1181023"]Ellen DeGeneres[/artist] has announced that she will no longer be a judge on the amateur talent juggernaut "American Idol." After sitting down at the judges' panel for just one season, the star cited a packed schedule and her aversion to hurting contestants feelings as reasons for her departure.
"Dim the lights...I've voted myself off American Idol," the star tweeted on Thursday (July 29). In a statement posted on her website, revealed that she broke the news to "Idol" producers months ago, writing "this didn't feel like the right fit for me."
"I told them I wouldn't leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next," DeGeneres continued in the statement. "It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on 'Idol' and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be."
The comedienne was [article id="1621108"]announced as the new face on the judging panel[/article] in September 2009 after longtime judge Paula Abdul left the show. DeGeneres made her "Idol" debut in February to [article id="1631630"]mixed reviews[/article].
"We love Ellen and understand and support her decision to bow out of 'Idol,' " Peter Rice, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Networks Group, said in a statement to MTV News. "We were fortunate to receive the humor, energy and love for talent that she brought to the show."
"I loved Ellen's passion for the artists and her nurturing skills," "Idol" creator and executive producer Simon Fuller added. "She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly."
"We will miss Ellen, she has been the consummate professional throughout her time on the show, and she'll always be part of the 'American Idol' family," said "Idol" Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz.
DeGeneres' departure follows the exit of famously blunt judge Simon Cowell who recently [article id="1629445"]wrapped up his tenure on the show[/article] during the ninth season of "Idol."
Are you surprised Ellen is leaving "Idol"? Who should replace her? Tell us in the comments!