Ellen on Idol: I'm Not Afraid to Tell Simon He's "Mean"

Credit: F Micelotta/American Idol 2009/Getty Images for Fox; Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

Why is Ellen DeGeneres qualified to be an American Idol judge?

"I love music - period," DeGeneres, 51, said on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM radio show Thursday. "And I'm a huge fan of the show. I haven't missed one show since the beginning ... I'm just a fan like everybody else.

"People are the ones who choose the American Idol," she went on. "Ultimately, it doesn't come down to some expert in the music industry. It comes down to everybody at home who says, 'That's the person I relate to.' I hope to be that voice."

Like former judge Paula Abdul (who left the show in August after eight seasons), DeGeneres said, "I'm not going to be mean. I hate when Simon's that mean."

How will she handle Cowell's sharp tongue?

"I'll tell him the same thing I tell him when he's on my show - that he's mean," she said. "You can be constructive, and you can criticize someone in a way that's helpful and not mean-spirited."

As for Abdul, DeGeneres said she hopes the former judge is "OK" with her signing on as judge. 

Said DeGeneres, "I don't want anyone to think I took her job away from her." 

Before the interview ended, DeGeneres stressed that she'll be an "honest" judge who will "bring compassion" to the show.

"I'm speaking from someone who loves music and someone who's on stage everyday," she said. "Hopefully, I can give them good advice and help choose someone that [people will like]. 

"I really do pride myself on 'not judging,'" she added. "I'm human and I have opinions, but I do try to catch myself and remind myself everyone is who they are for a reason."

On Thursday's Fox and Friends, judge Randy Jackson said DeGeneres is a wise choice to replace Abdul even though she has no music experience.

"[Ellen] can be the voice of the people among us," he said. "I think between me, Simon and Kara [DioGuardi], there's enough musical experts to go around right there."

He added that she's "going to bring a really interesting, different perspective to the people [and] to the panel."