'American Idol's' Kara DioGuardi on Ellen DeGeneres, Howard Stern and more
On Ellen DeGeneres as a judge:
Ellen brings a sense of humor, of course, but I think she knows more about music than you think she does. She was critical at times and she gave good feedback that was constructive ... I felt like she had a good handle on whether a contestant had potential, whether they had a star quality. She knew if something was off in the vocals or in their performance. She delivered the message with kindness but also had criticism in there ... She was very funny and was critical and had heart. I was very pleased with her and it's such an honor to sit next to her.
On Howard Stern:
That's a rumor. He doesn't have any kind of musical background and if you're going to replace Simon, you have to have that background. You have to have someone who knows about signing great artists.
On the Adam Lambert effect:
I think that people were interpreting songs from the get-go in audition week. They weren't just singing them in the way they were done by the original artist and that's definitely a sign of good artists, when they do something unique with material.
On hearing her own song "Terrified" from Didi Benami:
I was absolutely shocked. It was not a song released as a single, it was a song I co-wrote with Jason Reeves put it up on my site last year. There was no way she could find the sheet music, so she found it and learned it on her own, watching that YouTube video over and over, which is pretty impressive. She did a nice interpretation and she showed a great range.
On a mentor she'd like to see:
I really like Harry Connick Jr, I think he would be great, especially for standards or jazz.
On the biggest mistake contestants made in Hollywood Week this year:
This year it's song choice. They take on something that's way too big for them for them. Or they got through the audition rounds and we praised them and then they decide to completely change when they get to Hollywood Week. There was one contestant in particular who was kind of a country singer and he decided to do something completely opposite of what he should've been doing. That and the fact that they can't fill up the stage. They can't perform, they can't project.
On wanting a female to win:
It's the women's movement in music right now. You've got Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, you've got these women at the forefront of the music industry and I think that looking at the pool of talent we have this year, it's similar to that. They're unique, they're different, they have a voice. But I also do think that the men are very good. They may not be as different as the women, but they're solid singers. I do think it's a lot easier to break women than men, in terms of their records, when the show is done.
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Photo credit: FOX