What? Who?: Ellen DeGeneres Replaces Paula Abdul as 'American Idol' judge

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- "American Idol" has signed talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres as a fourth judge for its next season, the show's producers said.

The 51-year-old comedienne will fill the chair left empty by Paula Abdul's recent departure when the singing competition resumes for a ninth year in January, creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said.

Adbul left the show after eight years as a judge when she was unable to agree on a new contract.

DeGeneres said she's been a "huge fan" of "American Idol" for many years.

"So getting this job is a dream come true, and think of all the money I'll save from not having to text in my vote," she said.

DeGeneres, who will continue to host her syndicated daily talk show, will "bring a unique human touch to our judging panel," Fuller said.

She gained fame first with a stand-up comedy act and then with acting roles in several movies and TV sitcoms. DeGeneres has also hosted the primetime Emmys and the Academy Awards.

Fox network executive Mike Darnell said DeGeneres is "one of America's funniest people and a fantastic performer who understands what it's like to stand up in front of audiences and entertain them every day."

"Idol" added Kara DioGuardi, a singer-songwriter and music industry executive, as a judge last season, increasing the number of judges to four.

Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson remain as original "Idol" judges.

"American Idol's" next season will also feature a series of guest judges, including Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Joe Jonas, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain, the producers said.

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