Season 9: The one with Ellen
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.