Ellen DeGeneres quits American Idol

Ellen DeGeneres DeGeneres set up her own record label after joining American Idol

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Comedienne and chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is leaving American Idol after one season on the judging panel.

She said in a statement that while she "loved discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings".

US reports have tipped singer Jennifer Lopez to take over from DeGeneres.

A replacement has yet to be announced for Simon Cowell, who has left to start a US version of The X Factor.

"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres said.

It had not been announced straight away because producers had wanted time "to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next", she added.

DeGeneres, who replaced Paula Abdul, reportedly joined the four-judge panel on a five-year contract.

Ratings drop

Sir Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler and Harry Connick Jr have all been linked to the vacancy created by Cowell's departure.

Meanwhile, panel member Kara DioGuardi is out of contract and Fox has yet to announce whether she will return.

Original judge Randy Jackson is the fourth member of the panel.

May's finale was the lowest rated since the first series in 2002 with 24.2 million tuning in to see former paint salesman Lee DeWyze take the crown.

But the programme remains the most-watched TV show in the US.

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