‘American Idol’ Judge Kara DioGuardi To Return Next Season

As songwriter gets a second season, there's still no word on Paula Abdul's contract.

Three down, one to go. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi will be returning to the “American Idol” judges’ panel next season, the show announced on Monday (August 3).

The controversial fourth judge had a bit of a rough ride during her first season, clashing with den mother Simon Cowell and taking a bit of blame for programs running over in the wind-up to the finale. But according to press release issued Monday morning, the Grammy-nominated Adam Lambert superfan is onboard for season nine of the top-rated reality competition, which kicks off in January.

“We are so happy to welcome back Kara for her second season with ‘Idol,’ ” said Simon Fuller, the show’s creator and executive producer in the statement. “She is a breath of fresh air, and her passion for music and her understanding of talent is invaluable. This show is all about discovering new talent, and Kara’s championing of Adam Lambert is proof positive of her great instinct.”

With DioGaurdi re-joining judges Cowell and Randy Jackson on the panel and host Ryan Seacrest back again thanks to a mega-contract worth a reported $45 million, the remaining piece of the puzzle is frequently loopy judge Paula Abdul . A spokesperson for the show would not comment on the ongoing negotiations with Abdul, though her new manager recently said that he thought she might not return to the show.

Abdul has been mum about the talks, but tweeted on Thursday that, “I’ve been quiet as we are trying to work out details of how I can return to ‘Idol.’ ” Perhaps setting fans up for a possible departure, she added, “Whatever happens with ‘Idol,’ I love you guys. … I will give you updates on how things are going, to the extent I can.”

While Abdul continues talks over her future with the show, the praise for DioGuardi was effusive. “Kara’s spitfire personality and sharp musical sensibility infused ‘American Idol’ with a new energy last year,” said Mike Darnell, Fox Television Network’s president of alternative entertainment. “She clearly has a keen eye for talent — spotting Adam Lambert’s superstar quality early on last season — and her performance on the season eight finale was one of the most memorable in recent ‘Idol’ history.”

DioGuardi has been busy since season eight wrapped, writing and producing songs for Cobra Starship , Demi Lovato , Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Theory of a Deadman, Jessie James, Colbie Caillat, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.

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