Comedian Ellen DeGeneres impressed critics with her debut as a judge on American Idol. “Her calm demeanour and deadpan wit have already exerted a calming influence on Randy and Kara, if not Simon,” enthused the Los Angeles Times.

Even the usually harsh Entertainment Weekly gave DeGeneres positive notices. "Not only did the comedian/talk-show host treat the Paula Abdul Memorial Chair with a level of dignity and purpose that it had never before experienced," EW wrote, "but she wasn’t afraid to dole out tough criticism when necessary.”

DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul, who had been a judge on Idol since the show began but left after a protracted contract dispute. Rumors were circulating that there would be a lot of tension between DeGeneres and fellow judge Simon Cowell, but there were no signs of any major on-screen tension between the two. "She fit right in," raved E! News. "Not only did the show wisely not dwell on her too much, leaving the emphasis on the terrifying ‘sudden death’ round of Hollywood week, but she wasn’t too funny, either." –MANDY COHEN in London

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