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Fox finally admits on the eve of Labor Day weekend: Kara DioGuardi is leaving American Idol



kara-dioguardi-nice.jpgTalk about trying to stay out of the news cycle!

Fox just issued a press release at 8 p.m. on the Friday night before Labor Day weekend to admit that the rumors are true and Kara DioGuardi is leaving American Idol.

The release quotes dioGuardi as saying "I feel now is the best time to leave Idol," perhaps to counter the widespread assumption that she'd been fired from the show when rumors about the new judging panel first surfaced in mid-July. Of course, the release never really says who's idea it was that now was the right time for her to leave; I'm suspecting it wasn't DioGuardi's.

Longtime followers of the show know that returning producer Nigel Lythgoe was never a fan of the show's four-judge format and had been critical of both DioGuardi and departed judge Ellen DeGeneres before he was brought back to the show earlier this month.

Critics and fans could be divided over DioGuardi, an ace singer and hit songwriter who never seemed to find a groove as a judge -- clashing with uber judge Simon Cowell in ways that weren't that entertaining. Too lucid to be the new Paula Abdul but not incisvie enough to out Cowell the bratty Brit, she was stuck for an identity at a time when change was in the air.

Toss in rumors that contracts for Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and pop star Jennifer Lopez are signed or nearly so for next season, and it seems the burst of reporting that emerged in mid-July may be proven right -- with Idol's new judging trio consisting of returning judge (and Emmy performer) Randy Jackson, Tyler and J. Lo.

Given that the show's auditions before the celebrity judges are expected to start this month, it seems all the pieces are gliding into place just in time.

Which only leaves two questions: how wil Idol's notoriously dysfunctional  producers manage to throw a wrench in this setup still?

And who is going to be the new Simon Cowell?

Watch DioGuardi's surprise appearance during last year's Idol finale and read Fox's press release below:

Kara DioGuardi is stepping down from her role as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL. DioGuardi joined AMERICAN IDOL as a judge in the series’ eighth season.

“I felt like I won the lottery when I joined AMERICAN IDOL two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave IDOL,” said DioGuardi. “I am very proud to have been associated with AMERICAN IDOL – it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, as well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!”

“Kara was a great addition to our IDOL family,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “I’ve been fortunate to get to know her well, and have always been amazed by her eye for talent and her commitment to developing and mentoring artists. She will be missed, and we wish her continued success.”

“Kara is one of the world’s best songwriters,” stated IDOL creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She has been passionate and committed to IDOL over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come.”

“As one of the most proclaimed songwriters in the U.S., Kara brought a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to AMERICAN IDOL,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, IDOL executive producer. “We are very grateful for the time she spent on the show, and we wish her nothing but the best in all her future endeavors.”

“Anyone who knows Kara knows that she brings an unbelievable amount of passion, creativity and humility to everything she does,” added IDOL executive producer Ken Warwick. “It has been a joy working with her on IDOL for the past two seasons, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.”

Visit for exclusive videos, interviews and photos of the finalists, as well as special behind-the-scenes information and all of your AMERICAN IDOL news.

AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive produced by Simon Fuller, Founder, 19 Entertainment; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; and Nigel Lythgoe, President, Big Red 2 Entertainment.


[Last modified: Monday, September 6, 2010 8:06am]


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