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Continuing to make good on its promise to shake up “American Idol” next season, Fox announced Monday that songwriter/music producer Kara DioGuardi has joined the reality hit as a fourth judge.
“We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” creator/executive producer Simon Fuller said. “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.”
On a conference call with reporters Monday, DioGuardi said she will look for “artistry not just karaoke” when judging “Idol” contestants.
“What makes an artist is somebody who’s unique, when their song comes on radio I know exactly who it is,” she says. “It’s not about vocal acrobatics.”
Fox and “Idol” producers have promised to shake up “Idol” for its upcoming eighth season after this year’s slight ratings decrease. Earlier this month, longtime executive producer Nigel Lythgoe exited the show.
Fox has assured that any changes would not involve removing one ofthree original judges. But adding a fourth judge to a format that’s been successful with only three allowsFox to potentially make cuts should DioGuardi prove popular. Abdul wasquoted Monday as being “concerned” aboutthe hire. DioGuardi told reporters Abdul’s comment was understandable– “she’s just pondering what could or could not happen like anybodywould.”
“For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experienceof being the only woman at the judges’ table,” said Fox president ofalternative Mike Darnell. “With Kara by her side, Paula finally hassome backup and now there is going to be a lot more girl power on theshow.”
The Grammy-nominated DioGuardi has composed songs for KellyClarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill,Carrie Underwood, Santana and Pink, and has worked with teen artistssuch as the Jonas Brothers and Hillary Duff. With the “Idol” median ageincreasing every season, she potentially brings a more teen-marketperspective to the judge’s table.
Executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz noted that producersoriginally intended for the show to have four judges, a format adoptedby the show’s U.K. forebear “Pop Idol.”
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