“American Idol” Hopefuls To Be Judged By Former Dave Stewart Collaborator

11650__platinum_weird_l.jpgAlas, I’m not talking about Annie Lennox. In an effort to bring what a Fox exec calls more “girl power” to the show, the judges’ table for the next season of American Idol will now have a Coke cup for songwriter Kara DioGuardi, who’s shared writing credits on songs including Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away” and collaborated with Stewart on the pseudo-retro project Platinum Weird. DioGuardi, who Idol head honcho Simon Fuller called “a smart, sassy lady,” is being billed as the show’s fourth judge, which I guess means either that the judges’ table will be widened or Paula Abdul will get some time off to “rest” now and again. (One producer claims that Idol was always supposed to have four judges, although it seems strange to me that it took the executives this long to find someone who wanted the gig.) A few highlights of DioGuardi’s career after the jump.

Platinum Weird – “Taking Chances”

That’s DioGuardi on lead vocals.

Kelly Clarkson – “Walk Away”

This video perfectly captures my reaction to this track.

Hilary Duff – With Love

Ashlee Simpson – La La

Time has not been kind to this track. (Christ, her voice.)

Katharine McPhee – “Love Story”

A song that deserved better. At least McPhee’s Idol appearance helped kickstart her acting career, right?

Lindsay Lohan – “Confessions Of A Broken Heart”

I wonder if this means this year will have “Inappropriate Overshare Week.”

Celine Dion – “Taking Chances”

Does this mean we’re going to have a Celine Dion mentor week? Dare to dream.


  • Ned Raggett

    If only they could have found a Spiritual Cowboy.

  • Rob Murphy

    I am so curious to know how this went down behind the scenes. We hadn’t (?) heard any anonymous grumbling about “problems” during Idol’s concluded-just-last-week auditions. Was Paula too “tired” to make some of her appearances? Was DioGuardi called in as a last-minute replacement at some sites?

    Something happened during the auditions. And they want everyone to know that DioGuardi will be in place for the Hollywood rounds. Otherwise, they wouldn’t make and announce this change now, no? My completely uninformed speculation: DioGuardi was a “guest judge” at one of the sites (like they’ve had in the past: Jewel, Olivia Newton-John, etc.), Paula pulled her “calling out sick” schtick one too many times, and AI’s revamped EP team decided they’d had enough and offered a permanent spot to DioGuardi as a final warning to Paula.

    Also, I’m curious to know whether DioGuardi’s judging style will be more like Paula (“honey, you know who you are, and you are true to yourself…you’re beautiful”), more like Randy (“yo, dawg, you see, I wrote that song, and that was just a’ight for me”), more like some combination of the two (“I was more beautiful than you when I wrote that song…dawg”), or something completely different that I cannot possibly imagine.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t Platinum Weird the victim of a bizarre and ineffective marketing campaign in which their music was allegedly the recently unearthed work of a late ’70s Fleetwood Mac contemporary?

  • Anonymous

    Wow – she just took a gig doing A&R at Warner Bros. a couple of months ago… Sux for Jason Reeves, Laze & Royal, Atozzio and David Hodges, who she’d already signed since being there…

  • Al Shipley

    @Rob Murphy: Well, Cowell’s gone on the record that he’s not coming back after his current contract ends (I think in 2010, or maybe it’s 2009?), so I think the producers know they have to start mixing things up at the judges’ table and preparing for some kind of transition, whether or not DioGuardi is being groomed to actually replace anyone in particular or is just being thrown into the mixt to see what happens. And really, change is long overdue; a tiresome ‘chemistry’ between the 3 usual judges has lost whatever charm it once had, and they’re to blame for a lot of the lousy singer selections that have plagued the show the last couple seasons.

  • Nunya B

    Don’t forget, she’s worked with Paula before- she wrote Kylie Minogue’s “Spinning Around” with her with the intention that Paula would use it as her comeback single. This was before everyone collectively realized that no one wanted Paula to come back, even then.

    I still think Ashlee’s first album is/was unexpectedly spectacular, though, so my hopes are high.

  • Rob Murphy

    @Al Shipley: Great points, Al.

    More thoughts I’m having about this, even though no one asked…

    DioGuardi’s music hits the sweet spot of the tastes of the audience demographic that Idol has been hemorrhaging of late. Is it possible that producers are doubling down on finding talent that could become one or more, ya know, actual successful stars? What role, if any, might DioGuardi play in writing / producing the winner’s (or other finalists’) post-Idol music? What does Clive think about all of this? Also, I’d bet that many of the finalists (and semi-finalists) would love the chance to perform some of the songs she created. Are those songs off limits? Keep your eyes and ears open for transparency and disclosure.

  • Al Shipley

    @Rob Murphy: Yeah, I mean, it sure seems like a smart move to involve someone who’s actually had a creative hand in some big hits in the last 15 years, as opposed to any of the original judges.

    I’m sure eventually singing a DioGuardi-penned song will be seen as the same kind of ploy for the favor of a judge as singing a Journey song. Hopefully that won’t dissuade people, though, since some of her hits actually would be good Idol fodder.

  • egg cream

    @Rob Murphy: FWIW, she was the “tough” judge on The One: Making a Music Star (ABC’s abysmal Idol knockoff):

    But when it came time to actually comment on people’s performances, she was all, “You have greatness in you.”

  • Maura Johnston

    @egg cream: OMG, does this mean we’ll see a “tense” reunion between her and Syesha?

  • Anonymous

    Fully shameless plug here, but I wrote a piece for the Orlando Weekly last year about today’s pop music and it features some interesting quotes from Kara. (“Hilary Duff’s doing a service for kids”)


    I can tell you she’s an awesome person, though she curses like a sailor. Should make for GREAT TV once they start the live shows!