| 4.6°C Dublin

Comic Ellen's a hit as new US Idol judge

Ellen DeGeneres hit the right notes with viewers after her debut appearance as a judge on American Idol.

Fans took to the internet to express their pleasant surprise over the comedian's first outing.

DeGeneres (52) assumed her judging panel post for the cut-throat post-audition phase in which 181 contestants in the TV singing competition will be narrowed down to 24 semi-finalists.

DeGeneres, who is on the judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, said: "Simon Cowell is actually meaner than I thought. It's hard to listen to him tell people things and for me not to go, 'You poor thing!"'

The majority of people posting about DeGeneres on Twitter praised her performance.

When it was announced that DeGeneres, an Emmy winner with no formal music experience, would be the new judge last September, fans were divided over the unlikely replacement for Paula Abdul.

The sugary sweet pop singer, who had judged Idol since 2002, left amid contract negotiations after the eighth season ended last year.


Andy Dehnart, editor of the popular reality TV blog realityblurred.com said DeGeneres seemed "more polished and on-point than the people who've been sitting at that table for eight years.

"Ellen DeGeneres keeps surprising us," he said. "She excels as a talk show host, and if she keeps up what she did tonight, she'll easily establish herself as the best judge."

As expected, DeGeneres' critiques were punctuated with humour, but she didn't hold back the cruelties either. She joked something seemed wrong with a beatboxer's microphone -- just before sending him home. An admittedly drowsy DeGeneres later informed one dull singer that the performance "almost put me right out".

Cowell is leaving at the end of the current season to judge and executive produce an American version of The X Factor. His American Idol replacement has yet to be announced.