Kara DioGuardi Announces 'American Idol' Exit

'I feel like now is the best time to leave 'Idol,' ' songwriter says.

The Great "American Idol" Judge Shake-Up continues. Kara DioGuardi has been announced as the latest talent critic to exit the show in recent months. After joining "Idol" in its eighth season, the songwriter said in a statement on Friday (September 3) that she won't be returning for season 10.

"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,' " DioGuardi said. "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!"

DioGuardi didn't elaborate on her next step, but "Idol" producers wished the songwriter well in her future projects.

"Kara is one of the world's best songwriters," "Idol" creator Simon Fuller said in the release. "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,' " "Idol" executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz added. "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."

The announcement confirms months of rumors that DioGuardi would not return for the show's upcoming season. In July, reports surfaced that "Idol" producers were dropping the songwriter and mounting a return to a three-judge panel. In August, DioGuardi's father said she heard the news that she was being edged out of the show the same way millions of "Idol" fans did: through the media.

"She read [about her supposed firing] the way you and I did. Her disappointment is that that's the way she's being treated, and she feels that's not proper," Joe DiGuardi said on the TV show "Capital Tonight."

DioGuardi is the latest judge to exit the Fox ratings magnet. In January, outspoken longtime judge Simon Cowell announced his departure to helm the American version of the British talent show "The X Factor." In July, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres jumped ship after one season, citing a packed schedule, among other issues.

Will you miss Kara on "American Idol"? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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