Simon Cowell is famous as the grumpy judge on American Idol, but now that his chatty foil Paula Abdul is gone, will Ellen DeGeneres sweeten up this sour-faced judge? “Simon really is mean to people sometimes,” Ellen tells Entertainment Weekly. “If he’s rude, I’m going to let him know he’s rude.”

Ellen is going to hold back in one way, however: When it comes to her talk show, she’s going to have a few topics off limits because of her new gig.

“I think anything that will hurt Idol in any way,” she tells EW. “I don’t want to give anything away. And if someone’s a real jerk, I’m not going to expose them.I may change my mind if they really are a jerk.”

But Simon’s got some experience dealing with any “jerks” on the show already.

“They’re very media savvy, these contestants,” he explains to Ellen. “You never really get to know much about them because they’re aware of themselves and they’re always nice to you. “It’s only afterwards that it all changes.

And while Ellen is ready to let Simon know when he’s being less than polite, she’s also in his corner when it comes to rude contestants.

“But when you give your feedback, Simon, and somebody talks back to you, that’s one thing that I just don’t think I would tolerate,” she admits. “It’s unbelievable that people don’t have any respect. They go on a show, they know they’re going to be judged, that’s what the entire show is about, and yet they tell you you’re wrong. It’s just rude and disrespectful and not okay. So that’s not going to happen on my dime.”

Sounds like Ellen is already laying down the line!

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