By People Staff
Updated January 07, 2010 12:00 AM
Credit: Jason Merritt/FilmMagic, Steve Granitz/WireImage

The new season of American Idol has yet to air, but Ellen DeGeneres has already passed judgment … on Simon Cowell.

“We both like each other and accept one another,” DeGeneres tells the Wall Street Journal. “At the same time I think he’s mean and I think he says things in an insensitive way and I don’t think that’s the way to get a point across. I’ve called him on it to his face. I’ll do the same thing to him (on Idol).”

The talk show host also promises to be opinionated, but doubts she’ll be as warm and fuzzy as her predecessor Paula Abdul, who abruptly quit just before the ninth season began taping.

“I don’t know if I’ll be as nurturing as she is. She always found a positive thing to say instead of attacking,” DeGeneres tells the newspaper. “I’ll probably try to be somewhat encouraging. … But I’ll be honest. I don’t think it helps anybody to be encouraged and not told the truth.”

She jokes that she’s been preparing for her new role — which she’ll have to juggle along with her daytime gig hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show — by taking jabs at every chance she gets.

“I’m starting to criticize everyone I see, no matter what. I’m like, you thought that was a good outfit to wear?” she says.

Idol’s ninth season begins on Tuesday. After a couple of weeks of guest judges, DeGeneres takes her seat alongside Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. — Catherine Donaldson-Evans