American Idol: In Defense of Kara DioGuardi

While most people are up in arms about the return of Idol's misfit judge, we surprisingly find ourselves arguing her case.


The news that newest judge Kara DioGuardi will be returning to American Idol for her sophomore year has sent vibrations through the Idol community. Not necessarily good vibrations, though. The news comes as something of a gut punch to Idol traditionalists who are still nervously awaiting word on their wobbly, garbled heroine Paula Abdul. That the mainstay might straight up not be forever Fox's girl (the auditions start this month and still no contract agreement!) would be woe enough. But that the widely-disliked DioGuardi could become the sole lady judge on America's most fabulous/miserable pageant? That's insult to injury.


Honestly, we're pretty Swiss on the whole DioGuardi kerfuffle. Was her lame attempt at one-upping a tryout by loudly singing one of the saddest moments of last season? Yes! Is she bringing warbling bricks of coal to a New Castle already rife with flimflammery and needless distraction? Correct! Does she ever seem to have any idea what she's talking about? No!


On the other hand, Randy and Paula aren't exactly masters of oratory and sense-making themselves. Really, most of the Kara hate seems to come from that simple place of conservatism that unquestioningly fears change. We, on the other hand, like to interpret Idol as something of a living document. To knee-jerkingly dislike Kara just because she's new and different and scary seems stubborn and blinkered.


So much of Idol's once-hilarious old faithfuls seemed stale by last season (Think: Simon's ludicrous shelf of hair, Paula's Jupiterspeak, Randy's uncanny resemblance to King Bowser from "Mario Brothers"). At least Kara gave us something new to laugh at while we waited with sweaty palms for screeching Mr. Lambert to blow our faces off. She didn't know how to count! She confused the names of famous movies! She wrote the most ridiculous winner's song in the history of the the talent show!


It was fun, in an infuriating kind of way. Hell, Idol's always been just as much (if not more) about the pomp as it is about the circumstance, so having Kara glide in clad only in black underwear and a misplaced ego was something of a welcome breath of fresh, if obnoxious air. So maybe we're not so Swiss about Ms. DioGuardi at all. Perhaps we really want her to come back next season. The Idol journey is each year an increasingly masochistic experience. And Kara just makes it hurt all the gooder.


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