updated 09/10/2009 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/10/2009 AT 9:00 AM ET
“She will be a breath of fresh air on that show, a complete breath of fresh air,” Osbourne, 56, told PEOPLE Wednesday. “It’s new blood. And [American Idol] needed something new to happen.”
“I think if they had replaced Paula with another singer, Janet Jackson or J.Lo, it would have been too expected, she said. “ ‘Oh well, there we go, another singer.’ And with Ellen, you’ve got someone who knows about entertaining, and everything that goes into it, which also speaks for the people.”
America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon, 28, also gave his stamp of approval. “I know she’s going to do amazing with that,” he said. “When you’re too serious, it’s never fun. She knows how to have fun.”
At the same time, Osbourne said she understood Abdul’s predicament. “I’m behind her,” she said. “I think she put an awful lot into the show. She did do an awful lot for that show.”
Abdul left the show in early August, reportedly over a contractual dispute with for more money. “I would have probably done the same thing,” Osbourne said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, what the men get, the women should get.’ ”
Osbourne has worked with American Idol judge Simon Cowell, who is reportedly paid considerably more than his fellow Idol judges, on the British show The X Factor. The Osbourne matriarch left that show after four seasons in 2007. Abdul guest-judged auditions on the X Factor’s third season.
One of Cowell’s best friends, Piers Morgan, is also a judge on America’s Got Talent.