Adam B. Vary
January 11, 2010 AT 12:00 PM EST

Ellen DeGeneres broke the news to her talk show’s studio audience today that fellow American Idol judge Simon Cowell will leave the Fox ratings juggernaut at the end of this season to launch a U.S. version of The X Factor. Cowell’s announcement came on the first day of Idol‘s Hollywood Week, which also happens to be DeGeneres’ first official day as a judge. “I’m trying not to take it personally,” DeGeneres cracked. “Seriously, I’m going to be very, very sad to see him go, because I think he has made the show what it is,” the host continued to much audience applause. “But he wanted a change and I wish him all the luck in the world hosting The Tonight Show.”

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