Simon Cowell has confirmed that all four Idol judges will return next season.
"I think certainly next year everyone's going to be back," he told Ellen Degeneres during a pre-taped Tuesday appearance on her show ("Yeah, absolutely," he added.)
In recent weeks, the judges' plans for future seasons have been uncertain, with Season 8 addition Kara DioGuardi being the latest question mark. The arrival of the fourth judge, who has a one-year contract, has been controversial throughout the season, in part because of how much time an extra judge adds to critiques. (Former Idol boss Nigel Lythgoe told TVGuide.com that he's "not a fourth judge fan," for example, and nearly 60 percent of voters in a TVGuide.com poll agreed that four judges is too many.)
Cowell acknowledged the debate surrounding the additional judge. "There's less time for us to talk," he said. "One week ... 10 minutes before the show started, [producers] said, 'Oh, by the way you can't talk for half the show.' It's rather like saying in a singing competition to the singer, 'Half of you can't sing.' It was just crazy."
The show's veterans have also been discussing their Idol futures. Paula Abdul -- whose contract ends after this season -- pondered her plans during an April appearance on Nightline. Cowell has been vocal about his next steps too. He recently told the New York Times that he still intends to leave American Idol when his contract ends after next season.
Are you glad that all four judges will be back?