Ellen Admits “Simon Is Meaner Than I Thought” On Idol

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Ellen DeGeneres & Simon Cowell

We already heard that Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell argued after the departing judge showed up an hour and a half late for her first day at Hollywood week, and a new report says the pair continue to “lock horns” on stage. But on the eve of her first episode, which airs tonight, Ellen has been quick to frame their disagreements in a positive light. “Everyone’s making such a big deal of the tension, but there’s been a lot of fun on that panel,” she said on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. “I think he’s a funny guy. I like him on [the show this] Wednesday. I like him on one day, I can’t remember which. He’s going to be a challenge. He’s Simon and I’m me and we’re two different people. We’ll see how it goes.”

Not that the producers aren’t willing to exploit any drama. In an interview on the show’s website she’s even quoted saying Cowell is “actually meaner than I thought. It’s hard to listen to him tell people things and for me not to go, ‘You poor thing!’” Maybe painting him as an ogre will keep fewer fans from fleeing after he bolts for his own show, The X Factor, next year. At the very least, expect to hear more coherent sentences from her chair tonight than you did all of last season from Paula Abdul.

[Photo: Getty Images]