Entertainment behind the scenes
Ryan Seacrest looks for “sexual tension” from new “American Idol” judge Ellen DeGeneres
The stars of Fox’s “American Idol” expect great things from new judge Ellen DeGeneres , but they are all saying something different about her addition to the judging panel of Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, and her replacement of songstress Paula Abdul.
Host Ryan Seacrest told Fox News at the Primetime Emmy awards on Sunday that DeGeneres, a comedian with her own daytime chat show, is a “superstar.”
“She will change the sexual tension,” Seacrest said of DeGeneres, who is lesbian and last year married longtime girlfriend and actress Portia de Rossi in California, before voters in the state banned same-sex weddings during the November 2008 election.
“Simon and Paula had a specific kind of tension, but this will be quite different…” Seacrest told Fox.
DioGuardi, who only joined the show this past season, told People magazine at an Emmy after-party that “Idol” producers’ recruitment of DeGeneres was a “genius decision,” and that she wishes she had thought of it herself.
One of the most pointed comments about DeGeneres’ addition came from director Bruce Gowers, who won an Emmy for his role with “American Idol.”
“I think there will be a lot more fun on the show than there was before,” Gowers told reporters backstage.
But Gowers backtracked when asked if he meant the show suffered with Abdul in the judge’s chair, saying that was not the case.
Despite drawing more viewers than any other show on television, “American Idol” did not win its first Emmy until 2007, which was six years into the show’s lifespan, and even that was for the relatively unexciting category of best technical direction.
Will next season’s arrival of DeGeneres, a highly respected figure in Hollywood, change things and get the show more respect from Emmy voters?