Just in case you don’t get the print version, or simply missed it, below is a story that is scheduled to appear in Monday’s editions of The Press Democrat … the complete version.

It’s a look at No. 4 judge Kara DioGuardi and her ups and downs so far on her maiden voyage on the show.

The real bottom line is – does she add anything? Tough call. She certainly adds somewhat of a realistic appraisal of the talent before her eyes in a way the other three judges don’t. And in some ways I think she has forced Paula to become, shall we say, a little more realistic in her offerings. Some, not all, of Paula’s “oh my God what is she talking about” comments have evaporated and I have to think Kara, at least in part, is responsible for that.

Bring her back? My wife says no way. I say give her another season and see what happens.


BC-TV-Judging DioGuardi,0958

DioGuardi on being ‘Idol’ judge: It’s not easy
NEW YORK (AP) ” When Kara DioGuardi accepted her job as the
fourth judge on “American Idol,” she did not immediately grasp
the enormity of a full-time gig on the most-watched TV show in the
“I probably in my own way didn’t really take in what a huge
thing it was, just ’cause it would be so overwhelming,” she said.
“Until I kind of showed up and was like, ‘Omigod, what am I doing
here? This is, like, huge!’ And then it really hit me when we went
live that, wow, ‘I got to speak live in front of 30 million
Since joining the judges’ panel, DioGuardi has weathered the
curve balls of live television, eye rolls from Simon Cowell and
criticism of her judging abilities by the viewer peanut gallery. As
the eighth season progresses to a showdown between Adam Lambert and
Someone Else, the 38-year-old songwriter and producer’s “saving
grace” has been connecting with the finalists and helping steer
them in the right direction, by way of her industry expertise.
“It’s not an easy job,” DioGuardi said in an interview from
Los Angeles. “I mean, there was nothing wrong with that panel. It
wasn’t like I had to fix something. It was great. So to come in and
kind of be part of it was really tricky. …
“So I look at it sometimes and I think, ‘All right, maybe I
could have done this better or that better,’ but I’m literally just
trying not to” act like “a bumbling moron because I’m so, you
know, nervous at times,” she said.
Adding a fourth judge to the veteran threesome of Paula Abdul,
Randy Jackson and Cowell was part of series of changes producers
implemented this season to shake up the franchise. A 13th
contestant, picked in a wild card round, joined the top dozen. A
one-time rule allowed judges to save contestant Matt Giraud from
voter elimination.
And ” in an “Idol” first ” only two judges were allowed to
review a singer last Tuesday to save time. The show has been
running over schedule, which Cowell blamed on DioGuardi and Abdul
talking too much.
“Of course, we’re going to have time issues ” you added a
fourth judge! What did you think? I was going to just sit there
and, you know, like do a grading system on my hands? Which probably
I would mess up because you know how my remedial math is,”
DioGuardi joked, referring to the now-classic blunder she made
while reviewing Lambert (“I’ve got six words for you: One of the
best performances of the night!”).
Cecile Frot-Coutaz, an executive producer on “Idol,” said
producers envisioned a fourth judge could create a time crunch.
“It’s hard for (the judges) to figure out whether they’ve
spoken for 30 seconds or 45 seconds, so … we’re going to try and
help them with that and give them a sense of their timing so that
we keep it under control a bit more,” Frot-Coutaz said.
DioGuardi, whose criticism can be as long-winded as Cowell’s is
blunt, said she’s making an effort to cut her comments short. She
seems to have scaled back in the last couple weeks.
Her remarks are generally rife with musical jargon (especially
“artistry”) and she has been an unwitting target of hecklers in
the studio audience. Recently, cast-off Megan Corkey’s brother
shouted: “Broken record!”
“Kara’s opinion is so irrelevant that I don’t think people even
listen to it,” said Dave Della Terza, founder of
VoteForTheWorst.com, which encourages “Idol” viewers to vote for
bad-yet-entertaining singers. He derided DioGuardi as humorless and
unskilled at thinking on her feet.
DioGuardi, who has worked with such singers as Christina
Aguilera, Celine Dion and Kelly Clarkson, said she tries to tune
out the negativity and focus on her goal: “to help America find
the best ‘Idol’ and to help these kids.”
It’s clear she takes her job very seriously. In conversation,
she offered unprompted, thoughtful analyses of various finalists;
she often schedules one-on-one advising sessions with hopefuls
after they get voted off.
As for her recent on-camera gaffes, including a reference to the
legendary New York club Studio 54 as “Studio 57,” she said:
“It’s OK. I’ll poke fun at myself and I’ll look like an idiot on
that front. But I want to make sure that what I’m telling them
makes sense and it has meaning.”
How does she fit in with Cowell and the gang?
“I’m a combination of them in different ways,” she said. “I
think I can be hard sometimes and then soft in other times,
depending on what I think the contestant needs.”
Frot-Coutaz said the four-judge system has worked thus far, and
viewers have responded positively to DioGuardi.
“We’re certainly not talking about going back to three at this
point. … We’re pleased with the fourth judge,” she said.
Plus, Frot-Coutaz noted, DioGuardi provided one of the season’s
greatest moments: Her feud with Katrina “Bikini Girl” Darrell
during the audition rounds, when the judge ” a talented singer in
her own right ” told the scantily clad wannabe to bring a stripper
pole next time.
The exchange, viewed by some as immature on DioGuardi’s part,
revealed an intriguing glimpse into her personality ” less
Pollyanna, more Troublemaker.
DioGuardi said she’s funnier than she appears on the show. But
she’s not completely stiff.
“I noticed that my hands go all over the place, and sometimes I
look like I’m a gesticulating fool,” she said. “You know, it’s
very Italian.”