Santilli believes Degeneres leaving is a good thing for the show.
''I'm happy she realized she wasn't working," she said. "She was terrible. She had no business being a judge. She had no ties to the music industry. She was completely unwilling to be honest because she didn't want to offend anybody, so she ended up repeating herself. She had no chemistry with the rest of the panel. She seemed separate and she looked uncomfortable. I think she should concentrate on her talk show and stand-up and hosting things."
Jury's Still Out on Kara
Fox not commenting on DioGuardi's fate leaves open the possibility that she could be back.
But Santilli said she wouldn't be surprised if Fox did fire her, not because of what she said on the panel but how she said it.
"She had some really good critiques," she said. "She's just not very likable. At times, she was condescending. Last season, she took on this cougar role, which was very beneath her. Her flirting with Simon looked bizarre."
"She should have played the professional," Santilli said. "If she's fired, it's because she's not connecting with the audience. It's a shame, because she knows what's she's talking about more than Randy Jackson does."
But Bruce doesn't think producers have anything personal against DioGuardi.
"Everybody is up in the air," she said, "except Randy, who still has a year left on his contract."
The J-Lo Factor
"I think she was okay as a mentor," Santilli said, referring to season six, when Lopez mentored contestants on Latin night. "I didn't think she was great."
What Lopez has going for her, Santilli said, is "she more likable than Kara."
"She might be able to pull it off as a Paula Abdul type," she said.
"J-Lo has an amazing built-in fan base; she's in the industry," Bruce said. "But it's not about star power. It's about the right mix of judges."
Steven Tyler: Say What?
What happened to the big guns, like Elton John and Justin Timberlake, whose names once were floated as possible replacements for Cowell?
Hiring a has-been rocker with an admitted drug problem would not be steering the ship in the right direction, according to Santilli.
"It seems really bizarre to me," she said. "I don't have a good feeling about that."
But again, Bruce said it comes down to "finding that right chemistry."
It's the Talent, Stupid
Bruce said the show is making the right move by lowering the age of contestants to 16.
"It's broadening the pool," she said. "I think the show is making the right move by really focusing on talent recruitment."