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It seems like we've known for months now that Kara DioGuardi will not be returning to her seat on the American Idol judges' panel when the show returns for its tenth season. But the songwriter has finally made it official.
"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 on Friday. "I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol — it has truly been an amazing experience."
Idol's creator and executive producer says there are no hard feelings between the show and DioGuardi, and he hopes to collaborate with her again in the future.
"I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come," he said.
Both Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres also left the show after the last season, leaving only Randy Jackson as the one definite judge for the upcoming slew of superstar hopefuls. And though there have been tons of rumors about who will be filling the empty seats (Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Mariah Carey), producer Nigel Lythgoe says the new season should be more about the contestants -- not about who's critiquing them.
"We will be bringing the spotlight back onto the talent and away from the judges," he said. "I think that’s really very important, especially when you lose such a superb judge as Simon Cowell. You need to move the spotlight off him very quickly! But in truth, we’ve forgotten that it’s the talent that drives the program at the end of the day."
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