Sat, 26 Jan 2013 21:30:00 GMT | By Emma Jones
American Idol History X

Season 9: The one with Ellen

Ellen DeGeneres (© MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters)
  • Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, American Idol (© Getty Images/Getty Images)
  • Sanjaya Malakar, American Idol (© WireImage/Getty Images)
  • Michael Johns and Carly Smithson (© MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters)
  • Adam Lambert and Kris Allen (© PHIL McCARTEN/Newscom/RTR)
  • Ellen DeGeneres (© MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters)
  • The judges of American Idol season 10 (© MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters)
  • Pia Toscano (© WireImage/Getty Images)
  • Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson, American Idol, season 12 (© Getty Images Entertainment/Getty)
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Abdul is out and Ellen DeGeneres is in! As soon as Kara DioGuardi was added to season eight, rumours of Paula Abdul's exit were rife, but the "Straight Up" judge didn't confirm her departure until August 2009 after contract negotiations fell through. A pick-a-mix of guest judges were subsequently brought in for the audition rounds until, finally, Ellen D danced her way to Abdul's seat as a permanent fourth judge before the season premiere. All seemed fair again in the Idol equilibrium until, in another shock move, Simon Cowell announced that this was to be his final season as he hoped to concentrate more attention on the US launch of X Factor. A special tribute was presented to his Almighty Meanness during the final show.