Ellen DeGeneres has announced she is leaving American Idol after being a judge for just one season.

The lesbian presenter said the show was “not the right fit” for her, despite signing a five-year contract.

Her selection to replace Paul Abdul last September was questioned, as she has no background in singing or choreography.

In a statement, DeGeneres said: “A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for.”

The presenter added that she found it difficult to criticise would-be idols, saying: “I also realised this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings.”

She added: “I loved the experience working on Idol and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”

Simon Cowell has also said he will not return to American Idol, leaving two judges’ chairs vacant for the show’s next season.