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No joke! Ellen plans to be a tougher ‘Idol’ judge

The talk-show host, who delivered more one-liners than she did constrictive criticism, says she’s coming back, and she’s going to be harder on the contestants.
/ Source: TODAY.com

If there are going to be big changes at the “American Idol” judges’ table next year, don’t count on one of those changes being Ellen DeGeneres’ departure. The talk-show host, who delivered more one-liners than she did constrictive criticism, says she’s coming back, and she’s going to be harder on the contestants.

“Your first year anywhere is going to be tough, because you’re trying to figure out what your role is. I think next year my role will be to be exactly who I am, sometimes funny and sometimes serious, and I think I'll probably learn to be a little harder on people without being rude. But I think it was a fine line for me to walk this year," DeGeneres told USA Today.

She also discussed Simon Cowell’s departure. “No one can replace Simon, just like I wasn’t replacing Paula (Abdul),” she said.

That said, Cowell’s departure came as a surprise to DeGeneres, according to several “Idol” sources. “Ellen thought she was signing on to a show that would be helmed by Simon for the foreseeable future. His announcement (that he was leaving) came as a total surprise,” said one source.

Another “Idol” source said that Cowell’s departure announcement set her off on the wrong foot, and she never felt totally comfortable on the show last season.

“The egos here are all too big to admit that she didn’t work well within the show and didn’t get along with a lot of the people within the production,” said a source close to the program. “Ellen wasn’t fitting in at the beginning of the season, and the situation never improved by the end.”

Feldman on child stars: It’s ‘child prostitution’ Corey Feldman is speaking out against kids in show business, despite the fact he’s famous today because he was a child star himself.

“I look at (putting children on television) like child prostitution because really what you're doing is selling your kids. Their lives are no longer their own,” Feldman told Life & Style.

Feldman’s concern is that when you’re a child star, “there's no finding yourself. ... You’re famous before you know your own name. People are asking you for autographs and you don’t even know how to write. Children shouldn’t be faced with that.”

Feldman is particularly vociferous toward Kate Gosselin, especially now that her new show “Kate Plus Eight” has begun. He told Life & Style that if he could give Gosselin advice about putting her kids on camera, he’d tell her “not to do it. It’s the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.”

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday at today.msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter .