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DeGeneres won't return to "American Idol"

Ellen DeGeneres voted herself off "American Idol."

After serving one season as a judge for the hit Fox TV singing contest, she won't return for the 10th season, a representative for the show said in a statement. This gives "American Idol" two vacancies on its judging panel.

Fox has yet to announce a replacement for Simon Cowell, who left at the end of last season to start a new talent show for the network.

"A couple months ago, I let Fox and the 'American Idol' producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me," DeGeneres said in a statement. "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. 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."

With "American Idol" facing ratings erosion, the comedian/talk show host's exit gives Fox the chance to make a fresh start with a revamped judging panel. The show returns in January.

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