Male contestants have dominated American Idol for the past two seasons, but judge Randy Jackson, 53, predicts the upcoming year to be all about the ladies.
"I think I have to give the edge going in to the girls," Jackson told PEOPLE at the Yahoo! Yodel Studio, one-day music event and yodeling extravaganza on Tuesday in New York City. "We haven't had a girl winner in a long time and some interesting talented girls showed up to audition."
Jackson promises AI season 9, which is set to debut in January 2010 to be "a very interesting, different season." One of the biggest differences will be the addition of Ellen DeGeneres as the new, permanent, fourth judge.
" I think Ellen will bring an easy light kind of side to it," Jackson said. "She isn't that music aficionado like all of us but I don't think the panel necessarily needed more of that."
As far as how the easy-going DeGeneres will mesh with the highly critical Simon Cowell, Jackson assures fans that the two will get along just fine.
"Ellen is a friend of all of ours," Jackson says. "She is going to be good."
-- Isley KasicaScott Gries/MTV/AP