Ellen DeGeneres makes her debut on "American Idol" this week, and fans are wondering how she'll fare as judge No. 4.
Some viewers worry Ellen's background doesn't make her poised enough to critique a contestant's vocals.
Even though she's already filmed the Hollywood episodes that will air this week, I'd like to offer a little advice for the rest of her "Idol" stint.
Here are your five rules for "American Idol" judging, Ellen:
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1. Just say "no" to catch phrases. Randy Jackson's "dawg" was cool, until it cluttered every other word of his critiques. Same goes for his infamous "for me for you."
2. If a contestant sounds bad, don't lessen the blow by prefacing your feedback with, "First of all, you look really great tonight."
3. Say what you mean to say. If there was one advantage to Paula Abdul's departure, it was a subtle promise of no comparisons to magic rainbows and sparkling sunshine. Break the cycle, Ellen. Break the cycle.
4. Resist the lure of the fake-out. Don't humor us with lines like, "I'm sorry to tell you...BUT THIS WAS THE BEST PERFORMANCE I'VE EVER HEARD!" We'll see right through you.
5. Stumped? Succumb to the oldest critique in "Idol" history: "For me, it was all about song choice tonight."
How will Ellen fare on "Idol"? Weigh in on my "Idol" blog, which you can access with the link that accompanies this page. The blog will be updated "live" during Tuesday's Hollywood show, when we'll see Ellen judge for the first time.