Kara DioGuardi not returning to 'American Idol': It's (finally) official

Kara-DioGuardiImage Credit: Michael Becker/FoxKara DioGuardi will not return for American Idol‘s 10th season, Fox announced in a press release this evening. The word arrived via email at 8:11 p.m. ET on the Friday before the Labor Day weekend, the media-cycle equivalent of attempting to chop down a tree in the forest when no one is there to hear it fall.

“I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave Idol,” said DioGuardi, in a statement released by Fox. “I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol — it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, as well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!”

Over the last several weeks, speculation has swirled that DioGuardi, who joined the reality singing competition in its eighth season in the unpopular position of “fourth judge,” would not return to her chair when the ratings juggernaut comes back in January 2011. Returning executive producer Nigel Lythgoe had gone on the record saying he favored a return to a three-person judges’ panel, and as sources close to the show have repeatedly told Entertainment Weekly, Idol has been working to lock down returning judge Randy Jackson, plus newcomers Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, before season 10 callbacks begin in the middle of September. DioGuardi’s name was rarely mentioned as a contender for a rebooted Idol panel, the first without founding judge Simon Cowell, despite the fact that she showed considerable improvement in her on-air performance between the show’s eighth and ninth seasons. In fact, DioGuardi’s father said in an interview last month that his daughter had heard her job was at risk only via media reports.

Fox’s release contained statements from a number of execs close to the show. They read as follows:

“Kara was a great addition to our Idol family. I’ve been fortunate to get to know her well, and have always been amazed by her eye for talent and her commitment to developing and mentoring artists. She will be missed, and we wish her continued success.” –Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company

“Kara is one of the world’s best songwriters. She has been passionate and committed to Idol over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come.” –Simon Fuller, American Idol creator and executive producer

“As one of the most proclaimed songwriters in the U.S., Kara brought a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to American Idol. We are very grateful for the time she spent on the show, and we wish her nothing but the best in all her future endeavors.” — Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Idol executive producer

More ‘American Idol':
‘Idol': 15 Ways to Fix It
Nigel Lythgoe talks ‘Idol’ refresh
‘Idol': Mariah, J.Lo, or Kara?
‘Idol': No go for 5 buzzed-about names
‘Idol': Is Steven Tyler right fit?

Comments (352 total) Add your comment
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  • Min

    Thank GOD.

    • Niix Starkyller

      Meh. She was quite sensible in her comments last season. I think it’s a loss. But, on the plus side, Slezak may be able to book an Idolatry interview. And whatever you think of her, it would sure be quite a thing to watch.

      • Sammy

        I agree that she’s quite sensible last season but she always gave the impression of trying too hard. Guess that’s what happened when you joined the table late.

      • me

        “Sensible”. The woman actually criticized a contestant this past season for not making a Beatles song “relevant”. As if anyone on that show needed to improve a Beatles song. The woman was a joke.

      • Amy

        Simon Fuller is a joke! He thinks Kara is one of the worlds best songwriters?! lol! She wrote-multiple tracks for the Hannah Montana cds, Hillary Duff’s songs, Demi Lovato’s song The Middle and Britney Spears’s songs. Kara is talented, but she is NOT the best. Compared to all the beautiful songwriters out there, Kara is NOT one of the most special. I just don’t think that Simon Fuller should lie about something like that, just because she wrote songs for a lot of his American Idol contestants.

      • no surprise

        I knew she would get fired. How could you guys not see this coming? I still hope that she gets great job offers though. AI was just not the job for her, she was self-centered.

      • mar

        @ Amy…she has written hundreds of songs wat ru talkn about?

      • another one

        @mar…out of all those songs, only one was nominated for a best song Grammy Award. The truth hurts…

    • joblo

      Whatever. But here’s an idea: SLEZAK TO REPLACE RANDY JACKSON!

      • Tina

        No way! Michael Slezak is ridiculous. Don’t even try to start that horrible idea.

      • amanda

        how DARE you Tina?!

      • KLH

        I thought Kara improved last seaon though the Cougar routine was disgusting. Please remove useless power tool Randy.

    • LOL

      Kara is too sexy for this show.

      • rite-on

        Agreed! Kara is way too sexy for this show.

      • Em

        Kara + Bikini Girl reality show?

      • Angel

        AMEN!! She is way too beautiful to waste on Nigel and Co.

      • esquirrel

        Ha, ha, ha! You MFs are too funny!

      • LOL

        WTF?! Is this a frickin beauty competition? I guess you clowns are just thrilled about JLO being a judge then. How pathetic!

    • Rosalie

      I feel bad for her. She improved siginificantly from one season to the other. Unfortunately, she came in to the judging table a few seasons too late so she already had a strike on her part. I actually grew to like her alot and I’m sad she is no longer going to be on Idol. Unfortunately for me, I think Idol went down the minute Paula exited the stage. It felt like the majic of the judges was no longer there.Good Luck to Kara though.

      • Jason S.

        The reason the magic wasn’t there wasn’t Paula but PAula’s replacement Ellen who sucked all the fun out of the show. Worst decision ever was to bring Ellen on.

      • Sandy

        I agree, Rosalie.

    • iham

      Where’s a moderator when you need one
      Please remove the spam

    • iham

      Dear lord (I’m atheist)
      Get rid of Randy Jackson
      He has no business being in the business.
      Hey yo
      check it
      check it out
      check it
      naw naw
      check it
      hey yo
      hey yo
      SHUT UP! Leave us alone.

      • Joy

        Yeah, I’m sick of him trying to sound like he’s still a teenagers. Wake up, Man, you’re getting OLD!

      • Woody

        Ya forgot ‘dawg

      • Simon Degeneres

        it’s a little pitchy dawg, it didn’t work for me.

      • Linda

        You left out “Dog”, “check it out DOG” YUK
        If I had been a contestant and he called me dog, I would have slapped him!

    • iham

      Get rid of Randy Jackson
      He has no business judging anyone despite any success he may have in the field. Right place right time and riding coattails has never been more true.

      Hey yo
      check it
      check it out
      check it
      naw naw
      check it
      hey yo
      hey yo
      SHUT UP! Leave us alone.

      • ShannonP

        don’t forget “dude, yo, listen, for me for you that was just not good”

      • Ann

        Um…weirdo alert!! Ya someone like you iham probably is jealous of a great person like Randy. Whats with your writing? Your a wacko!! Don’t diss Randy!!

      • Jody

        Also, “dawg” and “it sounded pitchy to me”.

      • KLH

        But the double post wasn’t Aiiight for me :) Other than that, you really worked it.

      • wow

        Seems like you people love Randy a lot. You can’t stop repeating all his words, that just shows how interesting and entertaining he is to you!!

      • bootsycolumbia

        You did your thang…it was just aiiight, but you did it.

    • Jessica

      Thank goodness!! What goes around comes around, and that’s why she wont be on the show anymore.

    • kay


    • another one

      According to wikipedia, Kara’s songwriting has only been nominated for a Grammy Award one time(that’s one song). Is that really somebody who is one of the world’s best songwriters? She is good, but not one of the best. I like the songwriters who have Grammy Award nominations for there songs. Just saying…I think honesty is important Mr.Fuller.

    • darclyte

      Could EW have found a photo where she looks any more smug? So long Kara, but before long it’ll be so long AI.

    • ai producer

      In the movie Notting Hill, Hugh breaks Julia’s heart(but then at the end, he realizes he screwed up and he apologizes to her). Notting Hill is one of the most apologizing movies in the US. Very touching movie-and also VERY APOLOGIZING. ;)

    • Michael

      Good riddance! No one ever liked her.

    • goodbye

      Yes-Goodbye Kara! Thank goodness! Although I do wish her well for her career.

    • sweet news

      I hated how she would talk crap about contestants in her interviews. She had a very manipulative behavior problem.

    • yes

      She seemed like she was conniving-but you could tell that she tried to hide it. I was upset with her Boston Herald interview.

    • evoc

      Completely agree. She was a doofus. Past time to get rid of Randy Jackson, also, or retrain him to speak English. His overuse of ‘dawg’ talk is stomach turning. He is cool in his own right, doesn’t need to make that attempt to be street-hip.

    • ashley

      really?!?!?! she did get better in the most recent season…but, wow, RANDY JACKSON INSTEAD OF KARA!!??!!? i get that it’s a bit of a Sophie’s choice but. COME. ON. what has he said of any merit in the last 5 years?!

      • shark jumper

        It’s Morton’s fork, not Sophie’s Choice

    • Mack Jagger

      Bring back Paula!!!

    • NoneOfUrBusiness

      Big Whoop-T-Doo. This show is doomed anyways. Was just a matter of time.

    • bbfan12

      Halleluya!!! Finally she is gone!!!

    • barneytequiere

      i loved this comment

    • Alex

      Maybe she should take some time off and have kids.

    • Amelia

      I liked Kara & will miss her.
      She wasn’t much of a judge in the first season but really stepped up her game in the second season & made on-the-point critiques.

      Kara and Simon were the ONLY two judges of the four to make relevant and meaningful comments last Season.

      I wonder how J-Lo will be (if she gets the job)? I don’t know who Steve Tyler is.

  • Saphron

    I’m sticking by the early story that she was fired. Wench.

    • joblo

      Wow. Stay classy.

      • t-bunny

        Wow. Stay uptight.

    • bruno

      hahaha. they had no intention of letting her back on the show. they just caused enough talk and rocked the boat enough to make her think she was actually quitting on her own accord rather than fire her. classy, FOX. classy. but bahahahaa kara…the tree in the forest…not a sound…

    • Sue

      Duh, of course she was fired, that’s what this announcement was.

      • Saphron

        There’s a difference between being fired and having your position eliminated. Next.

  • Dean

    I’m actually a little bummed. I never thought I’d say that, but Kara was MUCH improved last season. The person who needs to go is Randy, who is compeltely worthless.

    • joblo

      I agree. She had the strongest season of any of the judges last year. Why keep Randy? He’s a walking Cliche Machine and the act is tired. Kara was at least constructive and helpful.

      • Sandy

        I’m pretty sure they’re keeping Randy because his contract (locked in a few years ago) doesn’t run out until 2011. Randy was actually my fave judge until Kara came along. I especially liked the way he & Kara interacted in season 8 (better than Simon & Kara). I do think Kara was the most helpful of the judges in season 9. I don’t think Randy’s really into it anymore. After his contract ends, he’ll probably leave on his own accord.

      • Alex

        He should be gone too, he says the same thing every week.

    • Jamie

      Well, it’s official for me – I am done being an American Idol watcher. I have less than zero interest in hearing what Randy Jackson has to say about ANYTHING and frankly I can’t stomach the idea of having to look at Steven Tyler at all, let alone on American Idol.

      • @Jamie

        I thought the show was about the contestants. It doesn’t make any sense to not watch just because you don’t like the judges.

      • @ @ Jamie

        If it was about the singing they wouldn’t be looking for celebrity judges and they wouldn’t keep praising Lee Dewyze for not being able to sing the right notes but being cute.

    • Amber

      COMPLETELY agreed. I always liked Kara. Randy is a moron who repeats himself ad nauseum. They could record him on the first week of performances, save them and then put them on shuffle and play them after every contestant for the rest of the season, and no one would notice. He never provided anything insightful or helpful. Why keep him and lose Kara? He became the weakest judge after Paula left (even before on some occasions). I will just fast-forward to Simon’s critiques as usual…wait…what? Oh. I guess I’ll just listen to the singers. Which, I guess, is the point after all. But life is much more fun with snarky British commentary accompanying it.

      • digital26

        Your right Randy is a complete moron, and should of been removed long ago. You hit the nail on the head about him saying the same thing over over again, and not saying anything of substance!

      • Preston

        I like Randy Jackson, but he kind of slipped a bit last season. He still can say the same repetitive dude/what up dawg enthusiasm a little too much. The first four seasons were okay, but by the 9th season,it’s wearing thin and becoming repetitive. He needs to change the way he comments on the finalists’ singing and performances.

      • Thatdina

        “But life is much more fun with snarky British commentary accompanying it” If only I had one at work :)

    • RubyBaby

      I was a little disappointed to hear this news too, Dean. And I say this as someone that really didn’t like her inclusion on to the panel two years ago. Having said that, she improved remarkably last year, and was the ONLY judge on the panel this past season with the technical knowledge to competently critique singers (or wannabe singers) even if she did try too hard at times to pally up to Simon and do the cougar thing (ugh)with Casey.

      • Katja

        I feel exactly the same way on all counts.

      • claude

        this show is done!let s move on to something new.it s been running for ten years.give it a break.it s a boring show.

    • Chip H

      Definitely wish we’d get the news all the judges are being replaced. Kara, as said, was the most relevant after Simon, and his departure was a sure thing before the end of last year. So, if you’re going to ditch Kara and Ellen, why would you keep Randy? Because his contract has a year left? Buy it out and replace everyone and roll the dice the refresh is worth it, because keeping his tired ass around is not going to help.

  • tuppy

    I was excited by the potential of a judging table shake-up. But a panel anchored by Steven Tyler and JLo scares me.

  • Jason

    I don’t think I’m gonna miss a thing.

    • JenR

      Hee hee. Was Ben Affleck playing with animal crackers on your stomach as you typed that?

    • anonymous

      That was a groaner. For some reason I laughed anyway.

  • Gonzalo

    Great. So they got rid of the last good judge they have. At the very least, can they kick Randy out too? Keeping the dawg and not renewing Kara’s contract is ridiculous.

  • jen

    Yeah, she was fired I am sure of it. They just allowed her to save public face to announce it was her decision. And I won’t miss her. Aww, I like Randy, he is a good dawg and glad he is sticking around.

  • api

    They finally put her out of her misery.

    • hnlppt

      Exactly right. Maybe now she can stop being so “confused”.

  • Joe

    He said he will clan house and he is.

  • Rosa

    Actually, although I wasn’t always crazy about her, she did improve, and she was often the only judge giving technical critiques. I’d rather have her than Randy. :(

    • LorLor

      I agree I believe the first season it was nerves more then anything else. Studio 57 and early Aerosmith were gone the 2nd year. She had some very valid comments.

  • carina

    This announcement would excite me more if Paula was coming back to replace this hag.

  • Michael TX

    I just wish she can take Randy with her. I am not sure how many people will be watching from now on anyway. Tyler is going to be a trainwreck!

  • MsDaisy

    “Kara is one of the world’s best songwriters”. Really?

    • Abbey

      My thoughts exactly.

    • Hank

      And she is one of the U.S.’s most ‘proclaimed’ songwriters? What is a proclaimed songwriter? Did they mean ‘acclaimed’ (which is a joke in itself)?

      • JenR

        I would like to believe that someone chose “proclaimed” on purpose after careful consideration. After all, they can “proclaim” she’s a songwriter all they want.

      • oh please

        Look up proclaim in the dictionary. The lady should not have said that because it does not sound smart. It just sounds awkward.

      • Ripshin

        I’d guess that the quoted person made the stupid mistake. “Acclaimed” was the obvious intent, however ridiculous.

    • Preston

      Kara has written for countless pop artists and many of them have been hits. Many times, it’s her written songs on artists’ album that I like the most.

      • another one

        Preston, there is a lot of songwriters that have wrote for countless pop artists and made hits. Writing countless hits is not what shows “special talent”. Kara is good, but she isn’t one of the most special songwriters.

    • Jawamily

      They’re just trying to be amicable in a press statement. They’re not trying to lie so much as save face for hiring her in the first place. “Kara is a joke of a song writer, and a terrible person.” Just doesn’t play well as a sound bite.

    • Bren

      She was part of the team that gave us No Boundaries. It’s possible I might forgive her eventually, but it won’t be any time soon.

  • Laura

    Idol is so over. Adam Lambert not winning, lack luster season last year, Simon Cowell leaving – what’s to watch??

    • Nathan

      Adam Lambert sucks and deserved to lose. Get a life

      • wakeforce

        Nathan sucks too, AND swallows!

    • karen

      Nathan, that did it for me too. They kept repeating how one has to have that ‘star’ quality & the ‘It’ factor.. But here was Lambert, ALL and MORE of exactly that, and he lost out to a weasel! That was it for me! If ANYBODY stood out as being ‘IT’, it was Adam Lambert.

      • Stormy

        Exactly. It was the far right voting block that put Kris Allen through. Kris is OK, but not a star.

  • claudenorth

    I thought that Kara did a pretty good job this past season. While Ellen was nice to everyone, and Randy and Simon phoned it in, Kara at least tried to give relevant critiques. However, as “the (unnecessary) fourth judge,” she had two strikes against her going in, and I doubt that she would have ever been fully accepted by viewers. If she had joined the show as part of an all-new panel, then she might have had more success.

    • Sandy

      I agree with everything, claudenorth.

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