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Sep 3, 2010 10:22 PM by Alison Haynes

Kara DioGuardi departs 'American Idol'

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kara DioGuardi is following Ellen DeGeneres
and Simon Cowell out the door at "American Idol."
Her departure leaves Randy Jackson, who's been with the singing
contest from the start, the last judge standing, for now. Steven
Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the reported front-runners for the
panel.
Entertainment mogul Simon Fuller, creator of the British show
"Pop Idol" that was the template for the U.S. series he produces,
called DioGuardi a standout songwriter whom he planned to work with
in music "for many years to come."
DioGuardi, whose exit had been rumored, is a hit machine whose
songs have been recorded by Gw- KRtefani, Faith Hill, Marc Anthony
and others, including past "Idol" winners.
"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 in a statement Friday, calling her
experience as a judge on the show "amazing."
Her statement, issued by Fox, didn't elaborate on her reasons
for leaving. Her contract reportedly had a one-year option
remaining that the network could have exercised.
Although she offered informed critiques on "Idol," observers
faulted her for lacking the pizazz - and unpredictability - that
ex-judge Paula Abdul had provided.
DioGuardi's departure comes as the top-rated show continues
auditions for its 10th season, which starts airing in January.
Tryouts have been held in six cities, with a seventh announced this
week for Los Angeles on Sept. 22.
The final decision on which would-be pop stars make it - dthe
show rests with the judges, who are likely to begin filming their
audition segments this month.
Cowell started the exodus from "American Idol" earlier this
year, when he announced he was leaving to launch another talent
show for Fox, "The X Factor," based on the hit British program he
created.
In July, DeGeneres, who was brought in to replace Abdul, said
she was leaving after a single season. The talk show host said she
felt uncomfortable criticizing young talent.
Some critics had complained DeGeneres was more of a cheerleader
than an incisive critic in the fashion of Cowell, who was
consistently blunt in his remarks.
The judges' turnover gives "American Idol" a chance to
recapture the Cowell-Abdul chemistry that helped make the show a
hit, along with, crucially, its ability to launch such top-selling
artists as Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.
While the show has long been No. 1 in the ratings
Vt has to
stem a slide in viewership to remain there.
A total of 24.2 million viewers watched the ninth season's final
duel between Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, compared to the
nearly 29 million viewers who saw Kris Allen win over Adam Lambert
last year.

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