American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi said in an interview airing Friday on Sirius XM’s The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick that she is “thrilled” about Ellen DeGeneres joining the show’s judging panel this upcoming season. “I am a huge Ellen DeGeneres fan,” she said. “I think she’s going to bring so much to the show. She’s somebody who loves music, she’s positive, she loves kids, she’s somebody who’s watched the show from the beginning, knows everything there is to know about American Idol. And I think ultimately it’s going to be a great new energy.” DioGuardi said she hasn’t had a chance to speak to DeGeneres yet, but that she would like to congratulate her and welcome her to the Idol family.

DioGuardi also addressed some of the criticism she received last year when she was introduced as the show’s new, fourth judge. “It was difficult [for people] to understand why somebody who nobody ever heard could kind of come out of nowhere and sit next to these iconic figures. Ya know, why was I there, what did I do to deserve to be there. And I can understand it. I think to this day people still don’t understand what I’ve done in the music industry or my achievements. And that’s okay. Slowly they’ll learn, hopefully. Or they won’t, and it’ll just be easier this year because I’m not as fearful as I was last year. For somebody who’s never been on live television, it’s very, very challenging to go from the back of the studio to the No. 1 TV show and that kind of visibility. It was very, very, very scary.”