Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol

In an unexpected move, Ellen DeGeneres has announced that she will be leaving the popular American Idol talent show after just one season as a judge.

“A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that 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. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for,” said the openly lesbian talk show host.

“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.”

DeGeneres was brought onto the show’s judging panel as a replacement for Paula Abdul in the ninth season. Some have criticised her for not having sufficient knowledge of the music industry.

The US media is already ablaze with speculation as to who will be replacing DeGeneres, with one website reporting that singer and actress Jennifer Lopez will take the empty judging seat.

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