"We've been dealing with this for the last couple of weeks and I've been dying to tell everyone," she told the audience. "It's just been so hard to keep it a secret and we just finally got the okay and I'm so excited. It is going to be so much fun."
As to what "Idol" fans can expect, she said, "Hopefully I'm the people's point of view because I'm just like you. I sit at home and I watch it and I don't have that technical... So I'm hopefully going to be that voice of what we're all doing at home."
"I could not be more excited to have Ellen join the 'American Idol' family," said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. "Ellen has been a fan of the show for many years, and her love of music and understanding of the American public will bring a unique human touch to our judging panel. I can't wait for this next season to begin."