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Does Paula Abdul help or hurt Emmy chances for 'American Idol'?

July 21, 2009 | 11:14 am

The news that Paula Abdul may not be returning to "American Idol" this year comes just days after the show earned eight Emmy nominations for, appropriately enough, Season 8. Her new manager, David Sonenberg, told the Los Angeles Times last week that Abdul had not received a new contract, even though auditions for next season begin Aug. 6. Radar Online is reporting that Abdul is angling for a $20- million payday while the show is looking to settle with her for half that.

American_idol_kara_dioguardi_2"American Idol" emcee Ryan Seacrest — who just inked a three-year deal for a reported $45 million — got a second consecutive Emmy nod for best reality show host. Over its first seven seasons, "American Idol" won only two of its 34 Emmy nods.

Among this year's "Idol" noms is a seventh straight bid for best reality competition program. While the judges were credited as part of the losing team on the first five of these Emmy races, from 2003 to 2007, they were not listed on either last year's or this year's nods. "The Amazing Race" has won the Emmy for best reality competition show every year since it was introduced in 2003.

Critics hailed the addition of Kara DioGuardi to the "American Idol" judging panel this season. She was cited as a breath of fresh air as she joined the original trio of Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell. The singing competition wrapped up in May with Kris Allen crowned champ.

Shortly after the season began in January, Abdul told "OK Weekly" that adding a fourth judge this year was a mistake. As she explained then, "It takes up so much time for each of us to give our opinion that it slows down the pace of the show."

Of course the great reviews that DioGuardi got had nothing to do with that insight from Abdul, did they? According to Abdul, "Kara and I have known each other for years and we get along great." All this trash talk may have been Abdul's way of easing herself out of the show with her dignity somewhat intact. As she said then, "It is the last season of my contract, and I have so many other things I want to do."

Before DioGuardi debuted on "American Idol," she was described as a Grammy Award-nominated songwriter. Though technically true, she is in fact a Latin Grammy nominee for co-writing a 2007 song of the year contender — "Bella Traicion." She shared the nomination with the track's singer, Belinda, as well as Mitch Allan, Ben Moody and Nacho Peregrin. They lost the race to Juan Luis Guerra's "La Llave de Mi Corazon," which also won record of the year. "Bella Traicion" wasn't nominated for that top honor.

DioGuardi has won other kudos. In 2003, she took home a BMI Cable Award for co-writing and performing "Somethin' to Say," the theme to the now-canceled Lifetime network series "For the People," which starred Lea Thompson, Debbi Morgan, A. Martinez and Cecilia Suarez. And she was named BMI's pop songwriter of the year for 2006, as she had accumulated 10 BMI awards in the previous four years for having written the "most performed songs on the radio."

But Abdul has the more impressive collection of showbiz awards hardware. She won a Grammy way back in 1990 for best short form music video for the track "Opposites Attract." And she also has a pair of Emmy Awards for choreography. Abdul won an Emmy on her own in 1989 for "The Tracy Ullman Show" and was one of three choreographers on the 1990 "American Music Awards" (along with Dean Barlow and Michael Darrin) to tie with Walter Painter, who choreographed the opening of the Disney-MGM studios. She had been a solo nominee in 1988 for "The Tracy Ullman Show" but lost to Alan Johnson, who handled the dance numbers in the song-filled "Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday Celebration."

Cowell took the Teen Choice Award for TV personality back in 2003 but has lost that award every year since, most recently to Tyra Banks of "America's Next Top Model." In his native England, the National Television Awards gave him a special award in 2007, two years after he lost the race for most popular TV expert to his fellow "X Factor" judge, Sharon Osbourne. And Randy Jackson is listed on various sites as a Grammy Award-winning producer.

Photo: Fox

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