"American Idol" has more than just Simon Cowell's shoes to fill. Ellen DeGeneres's first year on the show was also her last. In a statement, DeGeneres said, "A couple months ago, I let Fox and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for." DeGeneres added, "I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on Idol and I am very grateful for the year I had, I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be." Idol creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said in the same statement, “I loved Ellen’s passion for the artists and her nurturing skills. She brought honesty and optimism to our judging panel and I will miss her greatly."
The show's former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is all but certain to return to the show for its 10th season, taking the reins back from Fuller. Lythgoe remarked last spring that he favored what's being called the "nuclear option," replacing all the judges, despite multi-year contracts signed by remaining judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. A source said, "The network's dream scenario" would be to make the changes over the weekend and then "make a splashy announcement" during Fox’s presentation Monday at the 2010 Television Critics Association's summer press tour. The source added, "They’d be the talk of TCA, and the message to other networks would essentially be, 'Follow that!'"
Could a new Idol judges panel include Jessica Simpson, whose latest CD was less than a stunning success? Simpson met with Idol producers recently. "I’m not sure whether her people approached Idol or if it was the other way around," a source told Entertainment Weekly. Simpson is reportedly just one of "dozens" of candidates who have been considered to replace Simon Cowell on the panel when the show returns to the air in January 2011. Representatives of Justin Timberlake and Elton John have reportedly been interviewed; Bret Michaels has said he wants the job and even Diddy says, "Once I heard what Simon makes … [I] would love the job. I’ve got six kids. If I would get the same check Simon gets … we would have a ball."
George Clooney's girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, is "distraught" by reports that link her to cocaine use at nightclubs, a socialite who knows both Canelis and Clooney tell E! News. "I have heard that Elisabetta is distraught but that George is standing by her," Milanese socialite Francesca Biagini said. "In Milan, everyone is talking about this. It's a huge scandal and we think more celebrities will be named." Biaglini said that while she often routinely saw Canalis in nightclubs, she never never saw her engage in any illicit behavior. "I never saw her doing cocaine, but she's always the life and soul of the party," said Biaglini. "She's a fun girl." But the respected Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that 26-year-old Karima Menad told Italian prosecutors that she and Canalis used cocaine in 2007 at The Club. "I remember taking cocaine with Elisabetta Canalis and two others," Menad told investigators in 2008, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.
Dina Lohan says her daughter Lindsay is not getting special treatment in at the Lynwood Correctional Facility, but is being "treated like a common criminal." Dina Lohan says she and daughter Ali must use phone receivers to speak with Lindsay through a glass partition. Dina Lohan also she denies reports that Lindsay has access to a cell phone. "She doesn’t have cell phone privileges, that’s absurd. She doesn’t even have a pillow to sleep on," Dina told RadarOnline.com. She said, "I talk to her through glass. There’s a phone and we put her on speaker, but I can’t even hug my daughter. She’s treated like a common criminal."
Administrators from two rehab facilities visited with Lohan over the weekend in jail, but two court-appointed psychiatrists will decide which facility she enters when she completes her jail sentence. Lohan will enter rehab for a mandatory 90-day stay either right after she is freed from jail or within 24 hours.
Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, who recently married secretly, have a baby on the way, a source tells Us Weekly. "She's definitely pregnant ... Miranda's thrilled," says a source close to Kerr, a Victoria's Secret model who met Bloom a month before the pair announced their engagement on June 21. "She's telling all her friends, mostly other models, about it."
-- Anne Neville
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