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American Idol: Ellen Era About To Launch!

Feb. 2 2010, Published 6:23 a.m. ET

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Ellen DeGeneres' long-awaited debut on American Idol begins Tuesday, February 9, just in time for the start of Hollywood round.

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The wildly-successful DeGeneres is taking over Paula Abdul's spot as a judge on the show's panel, where she will sit alongside regulars Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest.

There might be some fireworks on the horizon between DeGeneres and Cowell, as the always-candid DeGeneres recently told Fox she had "one idea of Simon and it's changed -- he's actually meaner than I thought."

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For the Hollywood round beginning next week, contestants will go through the gamut of intense rehearsals and pressure-packed auditions for a coveted spot among the Top 24. Contestants will be put to the test during solo performances and group numbers slated for Tuesday, February 9 at 8/7c; Wednesday, February 10 at 9/8c; and Tuesday, February 16 at 8/7c. This season’s Top 24 semifinalists will be revealed on Wednesday, February 17 at 9/8c.

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