Who Is New ‘American Idol’ Judge Kara DioGuardi?

By Katie Byrne

We all know Simon Cowell has produced dozens of successful TV shows, Paula Abdul had her pop-star and Laker Girl days, and Randy Jackson won’t let us forget who he’s worked with (Mariah Carey, Journey … the list goes on).

But who is Kara DioGuardi and why was she picked to be the fourth judge on “American Idol”? Here are some things you should know about DioGuardi — from the singer/songwriter herself — before settling in for tonight’s two-hour premiere:

She Knows Her Way Around a Diva
“I’ve worked with a lot of these singers that are out there that are great, from Christina to Pink to Celine Dion. I’ve been in the studio with them when they’ve actually recorded songs that we’ve co-written. And I’ve worked very closely with them in both listening to how they interpret the songs we’ve written and giving them guidance and support.”

She’s Still Hard at Work on Non-“Idol” Business
“I haven’t slept today. I was working with Colbie Caillat in Hawaii, so I’ve been up almost 48 hours now. She’s just great. I love her voice. To listen to her sing is such a pleasure, and she has such a great tonal quality and such emotion in her voice.”

She Had a Hand in Kelly Clarkson’s Biggest Album
“I had a very close relationship with Kelly. I co-wrote six songs on Breakaway and co-produced ’Walk Away.’ I love Kelly, because I could just sing anything or tell her to sing anything, and she could sing it. She was feisty. She put her personality into the songs, and for the style of writing that I was doing at the time, that rock/pop angsty stuff, she was just perfect. And she was great to co-write with, and I had an incredible experience with her.”

She’s Dying to Work With Daughtry
“I really like Daughtry. I would love to co-write with him. At one point, it looked like he was going to do a duet on a song that I had written, but it never happened. So, if he’s out there and he wants to do a co-write, please call me!”

She Already Has Her Signature “Idol” Line
“I would say right now my line that I would tell these kids is ’Be you. Don’t try to be anybody but you.’ ”

How do you think Kara will fit in on the judging panel? Let us know!