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'American Idol' gets a fourth judge: Kara DioGuardi

August 25, 2008 |  9:02 am


It's a girl!

When "American Idol" premieres in January, there will be a fourth judge seated at the judge's table: Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi, Fox announced today.

DioGuardi will
use her background as a songwriter and producer to praise or critique the contestants throughout the competition, according to a press release. The eighth season of the show premieres in January.

The network, partly responding to a small decline in ratings, announced in May that there will be changes to the format to the show.

In the press release, creator and executive producer Simon Fuller said: “We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table. She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America's most successful songwriters.  We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”

The show had always intended to have a fourth judge, according to executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz.

"For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table," Fox President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell said in the release. "She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and No. 1 artist to the thousands who have competed on 'American Idol.' With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some backup, and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”

More details came later when Fox hosted a conference call with "Idol's" new judge.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that "American Idol's" premiere date will be January 29. While the show will return in January, its premiere date is not yet set.

(Photo: Anne Cusack / LAT)