Kara DioGuardi – Good Idol Judge or Bad?

There’s an element of the American Idol watching public that hates Kara DioGuardi. Hated her presence last year when her arrival changed the chemistry of the American Idol judging panel forever. Blamed her for dislodging original judge Paula Abdul and taking away one of Idol’s most recognisable assets.

But, as Lilly Scott sang a couple of weeks ago, A Change Is Gonna Come. And with the departure of Simon Cowell, American Idol will shift into a new era altogether – one in which it’s not the only singing competition on the block which Americans can audition for. There’s going to be Amercian X Factor. So, how does American Idol compete with the undeniably more sensationalist style of competition that Mr Cowell is known for running? Well, they need to pick some winners.

Can’t you see the change this year? Last week’s Idol shows were awash with contestants playing instruments. There are a couple of contestants who claim never to have seen Idol before (which means they actively avoided it or held it in disdain). The end result has been a couple of clever comments – like when one of the judges claimed that Crystal being in the competition might encourage other seasoned artists to try out next year.

And that’s where [[Kara DioGuardi]] comes in. While Randy Jackson gives his stream-of-consciousness commentary all wrapped up in “yo’s”, “dawgs” and “listen ups”, and Ellen DeGeneres tries and fails to give twee ‘comedy’ commentary, Kara is the one dishing out sound advice.

The Lovers

That’s why I love Kara as a judge: she’s constantly evaluating what works for each contestant. She praises when praise is due, but gives constructive criticism when it’s needed. She has this inate feel for each contestant as an artist – as if she’s visualizing them beyond Idol, with a record contract and trying to entertain an audience. Kara tunes into the style each artist is trying to perform in, imagines them in that genre.

Is she qualified to be a judge? Hell, yeah! She’s written innumerable hits for a string of American and British pop acts. According to this site, Kara had “32 writing credits on 21 major albums in 2009 alone”. She’s written songs including Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around, Christina Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man and Pink’s Sober. With the number of hits under her belt, she clearly knows a thing or two about what sells in the pop industry.

I urge you to check out this recent MTV article, which claims DioGuardi has taken over the role of ‘best judge on the show. Here’s an excerpt:

The point isn’t that Kara has been right 100 percent of the time. It’s that she’s shown she understands (and can articulate) the essential building blocks of a successful recording artist. By the time the lives shows started, Kara had found her groove. She highlighted Katelyn Epperly’s sparkling take on Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and feted Siobhan Magnus at the same time that she questioned how the singer hadn’t yet defined herself as an artist. She’s was clear, concise and almost always delivered spot-on in her commentary. “Idol” producers continued to do her a disservice as they harped on the cougar connection between her and Casey James.

The Haters

The DioGuardi haters will tell you that she’s an airhead, that she doesn’t contribute to the show in any way – certainly, I’ve read that comment repeatedly on different blogs.

Others will point to the exhibitionism of her appearing onstage in a bikini or using her witchcraft to make [[Casey James]] remove his shirt at an audition. There’s a theory that she hates the girl contestants and overpraises the males. I can’t believe this, because if you look at DioGuardi’s form, her biggest hits have been with female artists.

From trawling (not trolling) the web looking for “kara dioguardi hate” and “kara dioguardi sucks”, I get the impression that the haters are change-averse Abdul fans who see Kara as the reason for Paula leaving. The one valid point is that a fourth judge spoils the flow of the show. A lot of reality TV shows at the moment are suffering from ‘judge bloat’, and I definitely agree that three is the optimum number of judges any reality show needs.

And you?

I definitely think Kara is one of the best judges on the American Idol panel at the moment. When [[Simon Cowell]] leaves, she’ll be the most authoritative voice on the show. While [[Randy Jackson|Randy]] and [[Ellen DeGeneres|Ellen]] are giving wooly from-the-gut commentary, Kara will be the one we’re listening to for sound advice and constructive criticism.

For me, she’s the future of [[American Idol (TV Series)|American Idol]], perhaps the one person who can give the show some gravitas when it’s competing against X Factor. Because when that day comes (and it’s coming), the success of each show will be measured in how many successful artists they release to the charts.

What’s your opinion of Kara as a judge?

Tagged under:

Log In or Sign Up

Skip to toolbar