American Idol has added a fourth judge.
Songwriter , producer and former singer Kara DioGuardi will join the cast of American Idol this season. The international version of the show has four judges, and executive producer Simon Fuller said in announcing the addition that he is looking to "turn up the heat" on the long-running Fox hit by adding another voice to the U.S. mix.
Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori said last May that in light of the show's recent ratings erosion the network would look to "inject more energy" into the show, though he said he was generally content with the content, though not with the ratings slippage.
Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz claims the plan initially had been to have a fourth judge on the U.S. version.
DioGuardi, 2006 BMI songwriter of the year, has plenty of experience with Idol singers already. Among the artists who have recorded her songs are Idol alums Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice and Clay Aiken, according to Fox.
The addition brings gender balance to the judges table, pointed out Fox alternative programming President Mike Darnell. "“For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges’ table," he said in a statement. "She’s been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon.... With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”
How the show will break ties among the four judges wasn't clear. A show spokesperson pointed out that when there have been guest judges, Simon Cowell got to cast the tie-breaker.