Paula Abdul has to be smiling right about now. Replace the girl who was forever ours with a comedian slash daytime talk show host on the biggest show on American TV which is also about music? How dare they?

To be fair to Ellen DeGeneres, it’s only been two shows. But it hasn’t been a great start.

I will give her and the American Idol producers credit though. She was much better on her second show than she was on her first. She had a deer in headlights look the first time she had to give her criticism to a contestant without getting to hear what Kara, Simon, or Randy said first. And it was very awkward for those of us watching at home.

In a sense, it’s almost poetic that she gets to try and sharpen her judging skills on these Top 24 Idol shows because some of the singers are just as bad at their audition as she is at hers.

By night two, there were tricks used that allowed her to do a little bit better. If she had to lead the criticism, she added just a few quick thoughts, allowed everyone else to speak, and then wrapped it up, taking most of their thoughts and summing them up. It wasn’t necessary at all, but I guess it helped her reach her speaking quota.

I’m going to pick on something that might be a little unfair, but it has thoroughly annoyed me. She doesn’t speak with any pauses. I know, I’ve seen her before, she does it all the time and it’s one of her quirky charms. But when your job is to criticize, you have to be a little more succinct and to-the-point than she is. Yes, I know, Paula rambled more than anyone else. Randy speaks in slang. But we are used to them. Those are their gimmicks.

Here’s what she told poor Tyler Grady who looked at her like she was speaking a different language:

Ya, I felt that what what’s great about the people that you’re so attracted to is they had so much stage presence and so much charisma and I feel like you’ve got the poses and you’re copying those poses but you’re lacking the charisma and you’re lacking that kind of excitement, you’re kinda just going through all of the motions without really being that person, so I feel like you gotta work on the singing and really not just make those poses, but get into that performance.

The one thing that Ellen has going for her is something that Kara told one of the contestants who failed miserably with his song. Ellen’s likable. Will it be enough for her to make the top 12? Wait, she’s already going to be there. Darn it.

Photo of Ellen shared by Wikipedia and through Creative Commons