It's "just plain wonderful," said Andrew Belonsky in Gawker, that American Idol is replacing former judge Paul Abdul with comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. The one thing the judging panel lacked without Abdul was "genuine niceness," something the "condescending" Kara DioGuardi can never quite muster. DeGeneres will add some tenderness and genuine excitement to an otherwise "cutthroat" competition.

Picking DeGeneres was a "brilliant" act of self-preservation for the show, said Ramin Setoodeh in Newsweek. Fans were "still furious at Paula Abdul's premature dismissal," and were ready to hate her replacement. "Now the Idol world has been turned upside down. Nobody can hate Ellen."

You must be forgetting her "dismal, one-episode track record as a reality-show judge," said Michael Slezak in Entertainment Weekly. Ellen DeGeneres sat in as a guest panelist on So You Think You Can Dance a couple of months ago, and she "treated the gig like an extended (and extremely strained) standup routine," without providing "even an Abdullian level of critical feedback." American Idol's producers clearly weren't paying attention, and their "blind spot" could hurt the show.