Although its future success is in limbo (well, in my opinion, anyway), American Idol is arguably one of the most popular shows (and probably the most popular reality show) on television today.
Which might make you wonder why Ellen DeGeneres is saying goodbye after just one year of her five-year Idol contract.
I mean, sure, she has a million other wildly successful things going on (so it’s not like money’s an issue) and aside from herself, half of the judges are leaving (or, *ahem*, being forced out), so the dynamic is changing a lot.
However, it seems that the main reason DeGeneres is bowing out is because the show – not just its demanding work schedule but also its oftentimes harsh atmosphere – just isn’t “the right fit” for her:
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. 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.
Truthfully, I’m not at all surprised. I was surprised when I heard Ellen would be replacing Paula Abdul on the show, because even then – even before she started and before she had a chance to realize that her work schedule was already busy enough – it didn’t seem like the right fit for her.
Ellen just seems like a genuinely nice person.
Not that the other judges can’t be nice, but Ellen’s right: Judging people and sometimes hurting their feelings just aren’t things everyone has the personality for. Ellen was clearly the nicest, “I love you all” judge at the beginning of the season, and toward the end, it was obvious she was uncomfortable doling out any negative criticism.
The decision to leave one of the most successful shows on television had to be a difficult one, and I applaud Ellen for staying true to her compassionate nature.
What do you think? Will you miss Ellen on the show? Was her encouraging smile and friendly demeanor crucial to balancing the sometimes sharp criticism that’s such a reality in the music industry? Or, do you plan to give it up altogether, what with three of the judges saying goodbye?