'American Idol': Ryan Seacrest comments on Ellen DeGeneres' exit

ryan-seacrest-idol-season-9-320.jpgZap2it confirmed yesterday that Ellen DeGeneres would not return to "American Idol." On his radio show this morning, "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest read her statement, which cites her busy schedule and reluctance to judge new talent as the reasons why she bowed out.

"She decided to leave herself," Seacrest says. "Obviously, you know I know her well, so I'm sad that she's not going to be on the show with us, but happy if this is what she wants to do."

Seacrest says that when he heard the news, he got in touch with DeGeneres. "I had a chance to speak to Ellen yesterday, last night actually, and we talked about what I just read and she said it's all true. That's really the reason for it. So we will miss Ellen DeGeneres, we love Ellen DeGeneres, and it's not like she needs the work, right?" he jokes.

He also chimes in on Ellen's struggle with judging the contestants instead of nurturing them. "I hate that," Seacrest says. "Because I love her, and she's so wonderful and so much fun, and I hate that she found it tough to say some of those things to the contestants, but she's so sweet. That's true. I think that she really had a difficult time being tough on them and she certainly didn't want to hurt their feelings."

Seacrest refrained from commenting on possible replacements or on Kara DioGuardi's ousting, which hasn't yet been confirmed by Fox, but he did acknowledge rumors that Nigel Lythgoe might be returning as a producer, without confirming them, of course.

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