Kara DioGuardi quickly established herself on last night's premiere of season eight of "American Idol," as a presence on the judging panel. And with the Emmy Awards considering a new category for judges of reality TV shows, Kara could be a serious contender.
Over the first seven seasons, "American Idol" has only won 2 of its 34 Emmy nods. Of course, with Simon Cowell in charge of the show, Kara DioGuardi may not want to run the risk of ruffling that peacock's feathers by earning an Emmy nod possibly at his expense. Already, the reviews, for the most part, are focusing on her addition to the show as a much-needed breath of fresh air.
For Jim Farber of the New York Daily News, the show "has finally found its mean girl. In stark contrast to pushover Paula Abdul, new judge Kara DioGuardi showed some teeth in her debut Tuesday night." As he explains, "The season premiere didn't find her quick with a honed zinger like Simon Cowell. She favored instead a general tone of condescension, told in an instantly annoying tic of calling everyone 'sweetie' and 'honey' right before she kicks them to the curb."
Idoltracker here at the Los Angeles Times said, "At first glimpse, it was hard not to be struck by the visual difference between DioGaurdi and her new colleagues – in appearance younger, sharper, more attractive, conveying a slightly dangerous edge to her smile — she instantly put a little spring in the aging juggernaut’s step. But the question remained; how would she fit in and stand up to the other judges. " The answer — "In the first half, while Diogaurdi was largely unheard, an interesting dynamic took shape as her presence in the middle of the table had the effect of seeming to isolate Randy from the real action — which was taking place in the Simon/Paula banter … In the second half, however, hints of the DioGuardi promise were seen. In the heated 'bikini girl' incident, the new judge showed clearly that the knives are there, waiting to come out. She demonstrated an edge sharper, more informed and potentially even nastier than Simon’s occasionally shopworn put downs. In her parting comment to the bikini girl, a tossed aside of 'Sing naked next time' she gave us a glimpse of potentially deadly force to come, with an edge that could inject a great deal of energy into the show."
Rob Salem of the Toronto Star thought, "DioGuardi's charismatic credibility seems to somehow ground them all, and indeed the entire show. She's more than a match for Simon, more substantially authoritative than Randy, and gives Paula someone non-threatening to play with and divert her attention away from Simon." And TV Watch at People says, "DioGuardi, who looks like an older, more languid Katharine McPhee with a touch of Anna Paquin, is presumably meant to be a level-headed counterpoint to Paula, who lives in a magical, sometimes baffling world. Kara — pronounced “care-ah” — was slickly pleasant, but you get the feeling she won’t really tolerate too much nonsense, and she knows how to make a point."
However, Verne Gay of Newsday disagreed, saying new "American Idol" judge DioGuardi "needs to establish her own identity, bring something fresh and new to prime-time TV's biggest party, and in the unlikely event Paula ever leaves, make fans forget that she was ever even here. If she can do all that, the fifth Beatle just might fit in."