Kara DioGuardi returning to 'Idol'

TV judge continues songwriting and producing

Three down, one to go.

Newest "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi is the latest to sign onto the show for next season, producers and Fox announced Monday.

"Kara's spitfire personality and sharp musical sensibility infused 'American Idol' with a new energy last year," said Mike Darnell, president of alternative, Fox. "She clearly has a keen eye for talent -- spotting Adam Lambert's superstar quality early on last season -- and her performance on the Season Eight finale was one of the most memorable in recent 'Idol' history."

Though some fans were lukewarm toward DioGuardi when she was introduced on the show earlier this year, the songwriter was widely expected to continue on the show -- especially after high-stakes contract negotiations for fellow judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul have spilled over into the media.

Having a fourth judge gaining experience and fans on "Idol" continues giving producers more alternatives should changes need to be made. Host Ryan Seacrest and judge Cowell are officially returning, while Randy Jackson has another year left on his contract. Negotiations with Abdul have not yet been completed.

"We are so happy to welcome back Kara for her second season with 'Idol,' " said executive producer Simon Fuller. "She is a breath of fresh air, and her passion for music and her understanding of talent is invaluable. This show is all about discovering new talent, and Kara's championing of Adam Lambert is proof positive of her great instinct."

Since last season, DioGuardi has returned to songwriting and producing, working with artists such as Cobra Starship, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Theory of a Deadman, Jessie James and Tom Jones.