Judgment call: “American Idol” adds on to its firing squad


American Idol is getting a fourth judge — the smart, capable and sexy songwriter, artist and business owner Kara DioGuardi.

“Kara who?” you ask. Her name may not ring a bell, but unless you have been living in a cave or are one of those people who proclaim themselves to be too “enlightened” for Top 40 music, you have definitely heard her work on the radio. Her work includes Kelly Clarkston‘s “Walk Away,” Christina Aguilera‘s “Ain’t No Other Man,” Gwen Stefani‘s “Rich Girl,” The Pussycat Dolls‘ “Beep,” Ashlee Simpson‘s “Pieces of Me,” Nick Lachey‘s “What’s Left of Me” and many others.

In fact, it looks like an artist cannot be considered part of pop music royalty unless he or she has collaborated with Kara DioGuardi. From her official biography:

Kara’s songs have been recorded by Grammy award-winning artists such as … Santana, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Marc Anthony and Pink. Scores of major recording artists including Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Jewel, Jonas BrothersHannah Montana, Natasha Bedingfield, Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Deadman, Daddy Yankee, Ashley Tisdale, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, Jesse McCartney, Backstreet BoysHilary Duff, Cheetah Girls 3, Camp Rock, Jessica Simpson… have recorded and released Kara’s songs. DioGuardi has achieved equal success internationally with hit singles for artists such as Enrique Iglesias, Anastacia, Ricky Martin, Kylie Minogue, Diego, Belinda, RBD, Eros Ramazzotti, Delta Goodrem, Darius, Thalia and Martine McCutcheon.

DioGuardi also co-owns the music publishing powerhouse Arthouse Entertainment.

“We are turning the heat up on Idol this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “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.”

Turning up the heat indeed. In addition to being creative and business-savvy, she is a looker.

Meanwhile, Paula Abdul, a mere few hours after the announcement, gave an uncharacteristically lukewarm statement about the new judge: “I am concerned about the audience and acceptance,” said Abdul. Usually, Paula is forthcoming with mostly incoherent compliments, but compliments nonetheless. Don’t worry, Paula. You still have a niche carved out for yourself. For example, I doubt DioGuardi will ever come up with crazy gems like this:

Paula, you will always be special. And don’t you forget it!

The new season of Idol begins in January.

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