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Kara DioGuardi returning to 'American Idol'

August 3, 2009 |  3:22 pm

Kara DioGuardi is returning to the "American Idol" judging panel this season. However – even with auditions beginning in just six days – the fate of Paula Abdul remains a mystery. Abdul, along with Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, has been judging "American Idol' since Season 1 in 2002. 

American Idol Kara DioGuardia Paula Abdul Entertainment News 2468097 Kara DioGuardi, a singer-songwriter, was hailed for her insights when she joined the original trio this year. In a statement issued today, "American Idol" producer Simon Fuller called Kara DioGuardi, "a breath of fresh air, and her passion for music and her understanding of talent is invaluable."

The eighth season of the singing competition wrapped up in May with Kris Allen crowned champ. While viewership slipped slightly this year, "American Idol" remains the top-rated program on television.

It has proved far less popular with the Emmy Awards. Over its first seven seasons, "American Idol" won only two of its 34 Emmy nods. This year, it contends for eight Emmys, including a seventh straight bid for reality competition program. "The Amazing Race" has owned this category since it was introduced in 2003. "American Idol" emcee Ryan Seacrest — who just inked a three-year deal for a reported $45 million — got a second consecutive Emmy nod for reality show host.

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."

Paula Abdul has a far 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."

Simon 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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