Forgive us for a bit of cynicism, but when we heard the announcement that American Idol had added a fourth judge to the panel for Season Eight, our first reaction was, "Hmph, it'll probably be Clive Davis. Why should the contestants only be judged by people old enough to be their parents?" So when we saw a photo of the new Judge #4, and in particular that she was young, female, pretty, and generally about as far removed from Clive Davis as imaginable, we were speechless. Score it: Producers 1, Web Cynics 0.
Meanwhile, many Idol fans' first reaction was probably "Kara Who?!" With household names like Debbie Gibson and Jewel rumored to be under consideration for a seat at the judges' table, Kara DioGuardi probably came a disappointment at first. But a quick glance at her Wikipedia resumé surely put those qualms to rest. As you surely know by now, the immensely qualified DioGuardi is a Grammy-nominated songwriter, a singer, a producer, and a successful record company executive. Our senior editors admit we knew her only vaguely as the girl from VH1's Platinum Weird spoof. Anyone who works artistically with Dave Stewart is OK in our books.
Most importantly, perhaps, DioGuardi is just 37 years old. That might not exactly qualify her for the mosh pit at a Jonas Brothers concert, but it's more than a decade younger than the average age of Randy, Paula, and Simon. Idol had become far too long in the tooth in AI7, which we'll remember mainly for young contestants singing old songs to even older judges. DioGuardi's hiring is a big step in the right direction.
Of course, there's no guarantee DioGuardi will be a success in her new job. Randy Jackson has every inch as impressive a resume as she does, but the disappointing Dawg has been on cruise control the past couple of seasons. If DioGuardi quickly finds her voice on the panel, and in particular if she's willing to be a fair, impartial, independent-minded judge, then we viewers will be big-time winners. To the producers, we say: well done and thanks...but don't stop yet. There are still quite a few more items on the to-do list to get done before January rolls around.
- The WNTS.com Team