ellendegeneres americaidol 290 'American Idol': Ellen DeGeneres joins in January for Hollywood Week“American Idol” is ringing in the New Year by giving Ellen DeGeneres a trial by fire.

The talk show host will begin her official duties in January for “Idol’s” Hollywood Week, a demanding period in which 200 hopefuls who’ve gotten past the original rounds have to prove themselves further, so says LA Times Show Tracker’s Maria Elena Fernandez.

They’ve already gotten past Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi, so a new, encouraging face and some levity will be much welcomed.

DeGeneres, who will continue hosting her own show, signed a five-year deal with “Idol,” stepping in when Paula Abdul left the show. We’ve always liked DeGeneres, and think she has what it takes to be a good judge.

“American Idol”  ninth season premieres on Jan. 12. DeGeneres’ first Hollywood Week duties will begin airing in February.

Are you looking forward to Ellen sitting in the judge’s seat?

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Photo credit: FOX

Posted by:Hanh Nguyen