The week of Feb. 9, Ellen DeGeneres will make her American Idol debut alongside notoriously tart-tongued judge Simon Cowell – and she says she'll have no problem putting him in line if he gets too mean.
"Simon really is, in my opinion, mean to people sometimes," DeGeneres, 51, tells the new issue of Entertainment Weekly. "So I think I'll be hard [as a judge], but if he's rude, I'm going to let him know he's rude.
"And I may disagree with you," Cowell, 50, tells her in the joint interview. "If everything is 'After you,' 'No, after you,' that's uncomfortable."
DeGeneres says she is more nervous about fans disliking her than Cowell.
"Yeah, sure. And I understand it," she says when asked if she's worried about harsh fan reactions. "I was one of those people that was skeptical, like, ‘Why are they adding a fourth judge? I don’t understand this.’ But I do think that Kara [DioGuardi] adds a lot to the show now. And also, it’s not just a new judge. It’s a new judge in the place of someone that they loved. I mean, a lot of people loved Paula, and I don’t want to be the person that took Paula’s job away from her. Which I wasn’t. I’m not going to be able to please everyone. I gave up trying to do that a long time ago.
As for rumors that Cowell might leave the show after his contract is up in 2010, DeGeneres says: "If Simon goes, I go!"
EW notes that Cowell laughed and squirmed when she said that before adding: "Oh, Ellen! ... That’s quite a tricky situation you’ve put me into! I think right now we have to concentrate on the next season and just get through that and worry about everything else afterwards.”