Kara DioGuardi Opens Up About 'American Idol', Past

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Kara DioGuardi became a household name when she joined the panel of judges on "American Idol" back in 2009. But her accomplishments in the music industry go well beyond her two seasons sitting next to that mean guy, Simon Cowell.

Kara is a Grammy nominated writer her songs have appeared on over 159 million albums or CDs we call them now. Anyway, she has worked with countless artists from Carrie Underwood to Celine Dion.

And in between writing hit songs she is head judge on the brand new show, "Platinum Hit." And you can catch it on Bravo Monday nights 10 Eastern. Take a look.


KARA DIOGUARDI, JUDGE: The first line, atrocious. Who came up with that? It is horrid.

JEWEL, JUDGE: "I don't believe in losing sleep wishing that I woulda"?

DIOGUARDI: What does it mean?!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CONTESTANT: I don't believe in losing sleep wishing that I would have done anything. Would of, could of, should of. Like, I don't want to waste my life and lose sleep thinking, like, I just need to get up and do something. I'm going to get up and do it.

KEITH NAFTALY, RCA/JIVE: It was like, puzzling.

DIOGUARDI: Opening line, baby.


HANNITY: All right, joining me now of "A Helluva High Note, Surviving Life, Love and American Idol" singer, song writer, the one and only Kara DioGuardi is here.

DIOGUARDI: It's so great to meet you.

HANNITY: I'm really honored to meet you because I have watched every season. I TiVo it, DVR it, I love it. I never wanted you to go, what happened?

DIOGUARDI: You know, it was just -- it was time. The first year was really tough for me coming into that situation where you got three people that everybody loves. There's no reason to break up the chemistry -- I mean, the fourth judge? You know, those words, they still are hard to say.

HANNITY: You really open your heart and soul in this book. I actually felt for you many times. One of the things I was like aw -- I always thought you did a good job -- you said they would introduce all the other judges they would get massive applause. You felt like you were getting --

DIOGUARDI: Crickets. I was trying to clap by the mic to make people think, you know, it was just, who is this girl? And the name for television, Kara DioGuardi, it was like Carla Delaguardia. (ph)

HANNITY: Where did Hannity come from? We can share that --

DIOGUARDI: Hannity is a lot easier than DioGuardi. I got to tell you.

HANNITY: True. But you had never watched the show. That was another thing I didn't know.

DIOGUARDI: I hadn't because, you know, that was my life. It was being in the studio with artists and listening all day to songs and critiquing performances. When I got home that was the last thing I wanted to do was watch more music.

HANNITY: Yes, but it's unimaginable to me considering this is what your life was. The other thing, I know your dad.

DIOGUARDI: Yes, he's big fan.

HANNITY: It's funny because your dad -- you had a great voice as a young kid and then you said I'm never singing again.

DIOGUARDI: Yes, he used to kind of just be like, you know, we would be at a family gathering. He would be like, all right everyone, quiet. Kara is going to sing. And I'd be like, what, I am?

I had stage fright. I think it was more about I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to do it well and I didn't enjoy the process of music. I didn't enjoy singing.

Unfortunately, I kind of steered myself away from being creative for a long time in my life and I got myself into some trouble. I talk about being depressed, dealing with an eating disorder.

And when I finally back to being creative and doing what I should have been doing from the beginning, I got healthy.

HANNITY: You know, this is part of the revealing part. You even talked about one time you checked into a hospital and they put you a psych ward. That is not where you're going. You talk about -- and this was hard to read. You were molested. I think you were 11-years-old. You experienced date rape.

How much of that horrible life experiences, really down times, impacts your ability to write a song?

I was telling you before we came on the air. I'm a huge music lover. That has to have an impact. You bring that to your music.

DIOGUARDI: It does. People would say how can you be so revealing in your book, how can you talk about these things? I can't talk about my songs without talking about my life. The best songs pull from your life.

When you have issues like being molested or eating disorders and these things in your life, they impact the relationships that you have. Some of my male relationships were not perfect, because I didn't feel good about myself. That's when you get "Walk Away" from Kelly Clarkson or "Undo It" which I wrote for Carrie Underwood.

HANNITY: Unbelievable, all these artists that I love. I think they are tremendous.

I thought one of the other sad things, the relationship with your mom, she had cancer. When you told her about the rape issue, she swept it under the rug.

DIOGUARDI: I think it was really a time thing. This was 30 years ago. My mother -- there were no Oprahs out there to tell her what to do. It wasn't something you spoke about. You know, it was an Italian-Catholic family, hush hush about those things. I don't think I heard my parents say the word "sex" until I was 19.

HANNITY: My kids will never hear it. It doesn't exist.

DIOGUARDI: No, it doesn't.

HANNITY: My daughter will live with me --

DIOGUARDI: She'll be locked up in her room.

HANNITY: She already is.


But you know, she definitely later on before she passed away we spoke about it. After the book came out, her friend's kid called and said, you know, my mother used to tell me this weighed on your mother. She felt later in life that she wished she dealt with it differently.

HANNITY: That helped?

DIOGUARDI: Yes, you know, your parents aren't perfect. You have to learn at some point to forgive them and understand their circumstances.

HANNITY: You know, I was talking what amazes me about music. Country music is probably my favorite or anything that I can really think or makes me think.

I was talking about Garth Brooks to you. You go from one extreme of "Friends in Low Places," "Baton Rouge" another great song. On the other side you can have talking about his daughter and sitting in her room late at night, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" or "The Dance."

DIOGUARDI: It is such a great genre because they celebrate going out and having fun. Then they celebrate things like spirituality, family, loss, love, joy, pain.

HANNITY: You have that range, you write fun songs, serious songs.

DIOGUARDI: Yes, the older I'm getting the more serious they are -- starting to get. I'm not doing as many shorty in the club songs anymore as I call them. I'm 40 and I can go to Nashville.

HANNITY: Really old now, you know.

DIOGUARDI: It is all over. I can talk about things that are relevant to me. Like when I wrote with Carrie Underwood -- "Momma's Song."

You know, we're sitting in the studio one day and we started to get on to this conversation about there are no songs for women when they get married to their mothers.

You know, we're always singing a song for our fathers or doing a dance with our fathers, but what about our moms? What about the people that raised us and you know --

HANNITY: And probably you best friends that helped you through first boyfriends and all that other stuff.

I wrote three books in my life and each book that I wrote, especially after the first one, I didn't want to write another because it was too painful. It's takes too long. It's too hard.

DIOGUARDI: Very hard.

HANNITY: But then I found both books, the title, the chapters, everything I want to say in literally three minutes. The next two that I did, and I was like darn it, I don't want to do this again. But I had to. Yeah, it comes to me.

DIOGUARDI: Well, I think it's similar with songs because they're thematic. If you can pinpoint what you are feeling and it is an overall theme that's where you start with a song.

Sometimes it comes from a title, a word or an experience. And you build it out that way and I found writing the book to be difficult, because it was -- a song is short. A book is over a long period of time.

HANNITY: This will help, I think a lot of people A, I love how you tell them to jump and take chances. I think it will help a lot of young girls.

DIOGUARDI: I hope it does.

HANNITY: I like your message to them, you would never compromise your values with music executives who can be sleazy as -- I won't say it.

DIOGUARDI: Every business has that.

HANNITY: Every business has that. TV is brutal.

DIOGUARDI: The world is difficult. I think at the end of the day for me, my dream and where I wanted to go was so important to me I thought while I did go through some horrific things, the worst part would have been if that stopped me from going ahead, and that was a personal choice.

HANNITY: I love what you are writing and what you are doing. I loved you on "Idol."

DIOGUARDI: Thank you so much.

HANNITY: Congratulations. It's really nice to meet you.

DIOGUARDI: Great to be here. And my dad sends his love.

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