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Category: Kara DioGuardi

Judging 'American Idol' judges: Best catfight?

April 8, 2009 | 10:47 am

Considering that there will be a new Emmy Award this year for best reality-show judge, it's important that we pay special attention to what those naysayers, sourpusses and rascals are up to now.

On TV's top reality show last night, "American Idol," there was another hilariously revealing clash between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. I think it's obvious to everyone, including Paula, that she's on her way out. Her contract's over at the end of this season and Simon — who's now running the show — sometimes forgets to hide his disgust for her in the meantime.

American Idol Paula Abdul Simon Cowell

Last week, Simon and Paula began the "American Idol" telecast by linking hands as they strolled toward their jurist bench. Last night, Simon would win no award for acting. He let loose on Paula in one of those hissy fits that make him the TV wildcat we most love to hate.

Soon after Danny Gokey finished his bizarre rendition of "Stand by Me" and Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi predictably gushed over the show's golden boy while confessing that they didn't like his song's arrangement, it was Paula's turn to comment. That's always a special moment at the start of each "American Idol," when we viewers lean in close to the TV screen to see: Is Paula tuned in? Zonked out? Taking her own rocket ride to Neptune again? The answer was hard to fathom during the opening musical number last night when Paula teased us by jumping up from her seat and wiggling about — she's been doing that a lot lately, as if to convince us how cool a 46-year-old gal can be. But Simon soon knocked her down.

Addressing Danny, Paula offered her approval of his performance: "Everything from the creative liberties you took with the arrangement, which I happened to like very much, to the chord substitutions — they equally match how brilliant your voice was tonight."

Simon laughed uncontrollably while she opined, holding his hand over his face, trying to gag his guffaws, but he couldn't. When she was done, he snarled to her privately, "Why do you say things like that?"

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Paula Abdul finds four a crowd on 'American Idol'

February 25, 2009 |  3:15 pm

Paula Abdul has told "OK Weekly" that adding a fourth judge — Kara DioGuardi — to the "American Idol" panel this year was a mistake. She explains, "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 is getting have nothing to do with this insight from Abdul, do they? According to Abdul, "Kara and I have known each other for years and we get along great." All this talk may be Abdul's way of easing herself out of the show with her dignity somewhat intact. As she says, "It is the last season of my contract, and I have so many other things I want to do."


Critics hailed DioGuardi's addition to "American Idol" this season as a much-needed breath of fresh air. And with the Emmy Awards considering a new category for judges of reality TV shows, she could prove to be a serious contender to any or all of the original trio — Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.

Over the first seven seasons, "American Idol" has won only two of its 34 Emmy nods. The judges were credited as part of the losing team on five consecutive Emmy bids for outstanding reality show program from 2003 to 2007. Interestingly, they were not listed on the 2008 nomination. "The Amazing Race" has won this Emmy Award every year since it was introduced in 2003.

Before DioGuardi debuted on "American Idol," she was introduced 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 Television series "For the People," which starred Lea Thompson, Debbi Morgan, A. Martinez and Cecilia Suarez. And in 2007 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 it is Abdul who has the more impressive collection of showbiz awards hardware. She won a Grammy Award way back in 1990 for best short form music video for the track "Opposites Attract." And she also has a pair of Emmy Awards that she picked up for choreography. Abdul won a 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."

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Can Kara DioGuardi win 'American Idol' an Emmy Award?

January 14, 2009 |  4:47 pm

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."

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PODCAST: Ryan Seacrest on hosting and being an Emmy nominee — oh, yeah, and being surprised by the hiring of new 'American Idol' judge Kara DioGuardi

August 26, 2008 |  3:33 pm

"There's less pressure this year!" cheers Ryan Seacrest in our podcast chat when we discuss his return as host of the Emmycast, this time joined by his four rival nominees for the new award for reality TV host: Tom Bergeron ("Dancing With the Stars"), Heidi Klum ("Project Runway"), Howie Mandel ("Deal or No Deal) and Jeff Probst ("Survivor"). "We'll probably be able to have a little bit more fun because there are four other people to take this ride with me and we can all blame each other for any failure."


Ryan Seacrest jokes around a lot during our chat because he's having a wild day. We gabbed yesterday just hours after that jaw-dropping announcement — one day before the start of "American Idol" auditions — that Kara DioGuardi has been added as a judge. (CLICK HERE to download the MP3 file and listen to the full podcast chat.) NOTE: You may need to hold down your computer's control key while clicking.

Ryan Seacrest admits that the news took him by surprise, but he's excited because her addition "will make the show fresh again," he says, adding this warning: "She's a tough New Yorker with a lot of candor." Aha! Competition for Simon Cowell?

Back in June when The Envelope interviewed Ryan about the new Emmy Award for reality TV host he joshed a bit there too: "Part of the beauty and satisfaction of this new award is the fact that Simon can't win it. It makes me happy."  (Read the full interview HERE.)

OK, so I ask Ryan: now that reality TV hosts have their own Emmy race, should judges have their own category too? "Yes!" he roars. "The judges on all of these shows are very important characters and frankly are lead on many of them. Absolutely, they should be acknowledged for what they do and I think that perhaps we'll see that happen . . . . But to go back to my statement in The Envelope issue, it does make me feel good, just between Simon and I, that I don't have to deal with the possibility of him winning one individually and taking all of the credit."

Yikes! These guys love to jab each other, don't they? (Answer: Yes, and hallelujah.)


Ryan also likes tweaking his fellow Emmy cohosts. While discussing their preparation for the Emmycast, he notes that they took a group photo the other day. "I, for the record, am not the shortest host," he announces proudly. "That would be Probst, (although) he might've walked in with his open-toed sandals."

Not all of the nominees in that category measure up in another respect. Four of them host reality TV shows, while one emcees a game show: Howie Mandel. "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett recently said he doesn't think that grouping is fair (CLICK HERE). Does Ryan agree?

"You might see that category broken off into subcategories" in the future, Ryan notes. "What we do is similar in some ways, but it's very different. The mechanics of what Howie's doing running a game show and what I'm doing with music competition and what Jeff's doing in the bush in the middle of insert-continent-here it's all different, but I'm personally happy that we're at least grouped into the category."

Unflappable Ryan doesn't even seem too upset over what's happened to "American Idol" in that other related category — for reality/competition program — in years past. It's lost over and over to undefeated "Amazing Race," which has zoomed ahead five times.

Describing the Emmy ceremony moment when that envelope gets opened every year, Ryan says, "We used to get excited when you hear 'Am-' — 'American Idol' maybe? But it's 'Am-azing Race.' So I think we've conditioned ourselves to pretty much stay in our seats and watch the Bruckheimer army go up and accept, but they deserve to be acknowledged and rewarded for the success of that show. It's just all very different."

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Should new 'American Idol' host Kara DioGuardi be eligible for an Emmy?

August 25, 2008 |  5:22 pm

With references all over the Web to Kara DioGuardi as the new "Grammy-nominated" host of "American Idol," surely you're wondering: What was she nominated for?

Turns out it was a Latin Grammy in the race for 2007 song of the year for the Belinda single "Bella Traicion," a nomination Kara DioGuardi shared with Belinda, Mitch Allan, Ben Moody and Nacho Peregrin. They lost to Juan Luis Guerra's "La Llave de Mi Corazon," which also won record of the year. "Bella Traicion" wasn't nominated for that.


But Kara DioGuardi has won other awards. According to her bio on Wikipedia, "In 2003, Kara DioGuardi won a BMI Cable Award for co-writing and performing 'Somethin' to Say,' the theme to the now-canceled Lifetime Television series 'For the People,' which starred Lea Thompson, Debbi Morgan, A. Martinez and Cecilia Suarez. In 2007 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.' "

Next stop: an Emmy Award? Since the Emmys recently added a new category for hosts of reality TV shows, do you think the TV academy should add one for judges too?

Poor Kara DioGuardi would have to compete against Simon Cowell, who's now apparently running "American Idol" after the departure of producer Nigel Lythgoe. Considering Cowell's sour 'tude and senior rank, she would be smart never to rise above becoming known as an "Emmy-nominated" judge of reality TV, don't you think?

Simon Cowell's not afraid of making drastic changes. He told that he wants "American Idol" to "be more interesting and controversial" and "to introduce more jeopardy" to the top-rated TV show.



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