Ellen DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an American stand-up comedian, television host and actress. She hosts the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was also a judge on American Idol for one year, having joined the show in Season 9 . She began in Hollywood week but left the show on July 28, 2010 after just one season, claiming that it wasn’t “the right fit” for her.
DeGeneres first started to officially judge in the Hollywood phase of American Idol Season 9. She replaced former judge Paula Abdul taking the 2nd female spot on the panel, with fellow judge, Kara DioGuardi. She has been known to like many of the contestants, and like Paula, always tried to find something good in every performance. She also had many times used her clever comedy to tease around with the contestants as well as to cut through the tension that often occurs on the show when things got very serious. DeGeneres did admit in later interviews after she had left the show that she did find it very hard to give contestants deserved criticism if they didn’t do well because she simply didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings.
After American Idol
On May 26, 2010 DeGeneres annouced on her talk show that she was launching a record label called eleveneleven, named because she said that she would often see 11:11 when looking at her clocks and that singer Greyson Chance’s soccer jersey number was 11, and that he was discovered on the 11th. Artists signed to eleveneleven so far are Greyson Chance, Jessica Simpson, Tom Andrews, and Savannah Robinson. DeGeneres mentioned that she hopes to discover more artists to sign to her label via performance videos on YouTube.
In addition to her talk show and record label, DeGeneres has also been a spokeswoman for Cover Girl cosmetics since 2009.
On January 25, 2012, the department store chain JCPenney announced that DeGeneres would be a spokeswoman for the company. However, the decision to hire her as a spokeswoman was met with controversy because of a group called OneMillionMoms.com. Their claim that because she is openly gay and lives a different lifestyle then others, she is not qualified to represent JCPenney as a spokeswoman, and that families will turn away from shopping at the stores because of that. However, JCPenney stood by DeGeneres, and even Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly defended her and the company’s decision to hire her on his show The O’Reilly Factor.
DeGeneres’ first JCPenney commercials began airing on February 26, 2012 during the broadcast of the Academy Awards.