‘American Idol’ Vs. ‘Platinum Hit': Kara DioGuardi Compares

'Idol' alum says she's 'way more myself' on new songwriting reality competition.

Kara DioGuardi is well aware of what you think about her, thank you very much.

The former “American Idol” judge — who was already a major name in the songwriting community before she sat next to Simon, Randy, Paula and Ellen — can’t go a day without viewers approaching her to speak their mind. “People actually apologize to me,” the good-natured DioGuardi told MTV News on Wednesday morning (June 15). “They’ll go, ’I didn’t even know you were in the music business. We thought you were some random girl they pulled off of Hollywood Boulevard that looked like Paula Abdul.’ ”

Kara’s the first to acknowledge that she and live TV went together like chocolate and an onion, to paraphrase an infamous Cowell barb. Even worse, “It may have sent the message ’Is she still writing? Does she have time to write?’ ” DioGuardi said before setting the record straight.

“I was writing [new music] before [’Idol’] shows. I co-wrote [Cobra Starship’s] ’Good Girls Go Bad’ before a show, like two hours before! I was like, ’We gotta bang this out. I got hair and makeup,’ ” DioGuardi recalled. “Don’t give your day job up. Always gotta keep the day job.”

With Bravo’s “Platinum Hit,” a slick new songwriting reality competition that DioGuardi judges alongside host Jewel and celeb guests, Kara finally found a way to turn her day job into her TV job. Bonus: She can have a second take in the event of an “Idol”-esque gaffe, like calling Studio 54 “Studio 57″ or forgetting how to count.

“I’m way more myself,” DioGuardi said. “After nine hours of filming, you start to forget that you’re on a TV show, and then the New York part of me really comes out. I say, ’Look, man. … Listen, bitch!’ ” she joked.

Instead of banging on tables, calling contestants “sweetie” and raving about “artistry” the way she did on “Idol,” DioGuardi’s taking a different approach with her songwriting protégés. “I’m really critical. I actually cringe when I watch myself,” DioGuardi admitted. “Songwriting is one of the most difficult careers you can pick, and I don’t think I’m doing them any favors by telling them that something’s great when it’s not. … In my own career, the times that I got better were when people pointed out what I wasn’t doing well.

“I know that at the end of this competition, you’re going to be amazed to see how they grew,” DioGuardi boasted. (In fact, just three episodes in, the contestants’ chops have already improved greatly.) Kara also promises a lot more drama in the coming weeks, particularly among arrogant pop-punker Nick Nittoli and “Idol” semifinalist Jackie Tohn. Bravo’s been playing up a budding showmance between New York’s Johnny Marnell and Jes Hudak in promos too.

As far as “Idol” goes, Kara admitted to catching “bits and pieces” of season 10 and loved the new judges’ chemistry. (Fun fact: DioGuardi personally suggested Steven Tyler to “Idol” producers last year during the hunt for Cowell’s replacement.) But she laughs when asked if she’d consider reclaiming her seat now that Jennifer Lopez is “on the fence” about returning to “Idol” in 2012. “I think I would be the last person they’d call. I don’t think I’m going back to that. I’m very happy on taped TV. I like it here.”

New episodes of “Platinum Hit” air every Monday at 10 p.m. on Bravo.

What do you think of Kara’s new show? Let us know in the comments!