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Kara DioGuardi: Getting to know the new 'American Idol' judge

August 25, 2008 |  1:58 pm

Use During a conference call with the media this afternoon, newly added “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi got a barrage of logistical questions. Where would she fall in the judging order? What would happen if the four judges were split down the middle on whether a contestant should go through to Hollywood?

DioGuardi, for her part, was just as clueless as the reporters. “I just know that I’m on the judging panel and that I’m supposed to have my makeup done by 11 o’clock tomorrow,” she stated simply.

But although she didn’t know much about how panel decisions would shake out, DioGuardi was confident about her judging style. “I’m going to be a straight shooter and say it like I see it,” she explained. When asked which of the judges’ style most reflected her own, DioGuardi replied, “I don’t think I’m similar to anybody. I have my own style.”

And her “style” has done pretty well for her thus far. The Grammy-nominated songwriter has penned hits for Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Pink and many more. DioGuardi  has also written for a handful of Idols, including Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. “I’m a big fan of Kelly’s,” raved DioGuardi. “I had an incredible experience with her, and I was so happy when ‘Walk Away’ did so well for her.”

And “Idol” contestants aren’t DioGuardi’s only tie to the show.  “[Paula Abdul and I] co-wrote a song together early in my career that went on to be a big hit for Kylie Minogue,” recalled DioGuardi.  As for Abdul’s reported concerns about how the audience will react to the change, DioGuardi is not concerned at all. “I mean, anybody with the right brain would say something like that … she’s just probably pondering what could and could not happen.” 

She’s also not concerned about going toe to toe with the King of Mean, Simon Cowell.  “I’m just going to speak to Simon the way I speak to everybody,” explained DioGuardi. “I think Simon’s pretty spot-on most of the time.”

Believe it or not, DioGuardi has yet to sit down with the other three judges.  “I just really found out a few days ago,” she said. “Next thing I knew I was on a plane to New York.”  Needless to say, it’s all a bit of a whirlwind for DioGuardi, who is far more accustomed to life behind the camera than in front. “While I’ve worked with some incredible artists, I’ve always had a low-key life. I’m putting some money into buying some makeup.”

-- Stephanie Lysaght

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