Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi has joined "American Idol" as a fourth judge, FOX announced on Monday.
DioGuardi will sit alongside Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson at the judges’ table and use her background as an award-winning songwriter and producer to praise or critique the wannabe hopefuls throughout the eighth season of the competition, which begins in January.
“We are turning the heat up on ‘Idol’ this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” said creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America's most successful songwriters. We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”
DioGuardi’s songs have been recorded by artists including Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Santana and Pink.
“We had originally intended for 'American Idol' to have four judges,” said "Idol" Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”
Mike Darnell, FOX's President of Alternative Programming, added, “For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table. She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and No. 1 artist to the thousands who have competed on 'American Idol.' With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show."