US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres is to become the fourth judge on American Idol, taking over the spot recently vacated by singer Paula Abdul.

The 51-year-old will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi next year for the show’s ninth season.

DeGeneres – who will not be giving up her chat show – said that she had been “dying to tell everyone” the news.

“Hopefully, I’m the people’s point of view because I’m just like you,” she said, as she filmed her show this week.

“I’m not looking at it in a critical way, from the producer’s mind,” she continued.

“I’m looking at it as a person who is going to buy the music and is going to relate to that person.”

Filming of the new season’s American Idol auditions have seen Abdul replaced by a number of guest judges, among them Victoria Beckham, Katy Perry and Shania Twain.

DeGeneres – who said the job was “a dream come true” – will join the show following the preliminary auditions.

The comedienne, best known for her sitcom Ellen, has previously guest judged on So You Think You Can Dance, another US talent show.

American Idol’s executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz described the one-time Academy Awards hostess as “one of America’s foremost entertainers”.

“Beyond her incredible sense of humour and love of music, she brings with her an immense warmth and compassion that is almost palpable.”

American Idol has been a launch-pad for several singing stars, notably Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and the show’s first winner Kelly Clarkson.

Abdul, who had been with the show since its inception in 2002, announced she was leaving the programme in August.

Credit: BBC