Is Kara DioGuardi the Best Judge on American Idol?

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American Idol's current season of contestants is spottier than a D.I.Y. dye-job., but the judging panel isn't exactly a cohesive powerhouse either. Between Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Simon Cowell, critiques have been vague, pandering, and suspiciously biased, respectively. Meanwhile, Kara DioGuardi has improved from her first season, now ably diagnosing issues with song choices and artistic intention. Could the withering backlash against her have had more to do with her sometimes-cloying way of addressing the contestants than with her views themselves? Here are three advantages Kara has over her fellow judges:

Finding Idiosyncrasies

More than the other judges, Kara attempts to address each artist as an individual. While she's savvy about the categorization inherent in the music industry, she also acknowledges what makes each contestant different than their genre boilerplate.

Said To: Didi Benami, after her performance of "Play With Fire"

"I think sometimes when you push on your vocals, you lose your way a bit. But what I liked tonight that I saw was an intensity that you attacked the song with. And that's what those lyrics were about. You got dark. There's something very compelling about the sweetness of your voice with the eeriness of the song. And you did it last week. So for me, it's two steps in the right direction towards who you're becoming as an artist."

Grading Week-to-Week Trends

While Randy and Ellen have exhibited sketchy recall when it comes to past weeks of performances, Kara has a better comprehension about each artist's progress. Best of all, she never becomes dismissive like Simon.

Said To: Aaron Kelly, after his performance of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

"Ellen said it -- best song choice of the night. Maybe one week you were off, but week to week, you know how to pick a song that accentuates the strength in your voice and shows consistency, because you do have that country twang in your voice, and I hear it week to week. I'm not going to beat you up on the vocals, because it wasn't perfect, and we know why. I am going to say, [I want] more stage presence from you. But overall, good attempt."

Constructive Advice

Kara's greatest strength is how she actually gives the performers ideas by zeroing in on their talents and mistakes. While Simon's curt appraisals may be more titillating, Kara's the one who's best able to encourage -- and without Ellen's "Great job" pull-toy soundbites, to boot.

Said To: Crystal Bowersox, after her performance of "Long As I Can See the Light"

"You completely recovered from last week. 'You Oughta Know' [Erratum: She meant 'Hand in My Pocket'] was a more contemporary song, and it just didn't fit you. This is you who are. You are that Americana, rock. And when you come out here, it's effortless. You're just centered. You're focused in a way that the greats are. It's coming from your heart, and you can feel it. And i love it. I think tonight you hit a new level. You hit a new level, and I have to congratulate you for that, because that's very hard in these early days."



Comments

  • Ashley says:

    I think she is all a fake. The show is going to go down after Simon leaves and she should go along with him.

  • carol says:

    She is so pretentious, and has that fake head bobbing thing going on. So dramatic.

  • G says:

    Can't stand her as a judge. A large group of us quit watching after Paula left.

  • Jo Shmoe says:

    Kara is a crazy dueche bag I mute her and still cant stand her.

  • Becky says:

    I don't like her, she is such a fake, bring Paula back if not and if Simon leaves I will not watch the show anymore, sorry Randy and Ellen I like both of you.

  • Becky says:

    I like Kara. She is smart, has great music background, and I respect her. Yes, she should cuddle less with Simon, but I like what she says. Ellen is funny, I like what she brings as an outsider to the music business. I love Simon's honesty, he says what many are thinking. Randy is ok, he probably brings the least to the table in my eyes. Overall though, I like the judges this season.

  • Donna says:

    I personally like Kara I think she is honest with the contestants. She has a lot of knowledge of music & she pushes them to be the best they can be, not to settle for the middle of the road. I love Randy & Simon although sometimes Simon has been harsh but if he leaves I'm not sure I would watch. Ellen's music knowledge is very lacking & at first all she was doing was repeating Randy. She is better now & because she is in the entertainment business she can help them a LOT with their stage performance.I think ALL of the judges have a lot to offer & really do want to help the kids. I LOVE Crystal & Siobhan & feel the ones that should still be there ARE!

  • Jasmine Floyde says:

    Kara is the most annoying person ever. She talks way too dramatically with her hands and tries to show her apperance off rather then judging the contestants fairly. I also feel like she judgeds then unfairly and more along the lines of how she likes them personally rather then how they perform. I respect Simon as a judge and Ellen and Randy give the show some comedy but Kara should go! Paula should not return either though. She always loved everyone they need a judge to tell it like it is in a fair way. A girl version of Simon basically.

  • Bonnie says:

    KARA IS THE MOST ANNOYING PERSON, SHE IS SO FULL OF HERSELF, AND YET COMPELETLY INSCURE. HER COMMENTS ARE CONFUSING THE SINGERS. SHE GIVE MIXED MESSAGES. SHE GETS WAY TOO PERSONAL WITH THE HISTORY OF THE SINGERS, AND THINKS SHE IS DOING PSYCO-THERAPY, WHEN IN FACT SHE'S IS DISTURBING THEIR PERSONAL SPACE.
    SHE HAS NO BOUNDRIES. AND IS FULL OF INSCURITY'S.
    IF ANY OF THE OTHER JUDGES STOP HER, SHE SLOUCHES DOWN IN HER CHAIR, SHE CAN'T TAKE ANY CRITISM, SHE CAN SURE "OVER" DISHE IT OUT.
    SHE IS AN EXTREMELY INSURE PERSON, WHO ENJOY'S SAYING THINGS TO PEOPLE SHE COULDN'T TOLERATE.
    I HATE HER FROM DAY ONE, GET HER OFF, SHE WILL DESTROY THE SHOW.
    SHE WILL THINK SHE WILL FALL INTO SIMONS SHOES. IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN
    THERE IS ONLY ONE SIMON.
    SHE THINK'S SHE IS TAKING PAULA'S PLACE, THAT WILL ALSO NEVER HAPPEN.
    SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHO SHE IS. SHE NEEDS TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE PERSONALITY.
    IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY TO HER PERSONAL COMMENTS,( WHEN SHE KEEPS BABBLING ON ABOUT THE SINGSERS) YOU WILL HEAR ALL HER INSCURITIES.
    GET HER OFF BEFORE SHE FINISHES OFF THE SHOW.
    I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF THE SHOW SINCE DAY ONE. I HAVE NEVER MISSED A SHOW. I'VE BEEN TOLD IT'S LIKE FOOTBALL SEASON FOR ME.
    KARA COULD POSSIBLY CHANGE THAT FOR ME.
    PRODUCERS, MAKE WISE CHOICES, IT'S BEEN A GREAT SHOW, TILL NOW.

  • sharon says:

    "I, used to be a big fan of American Idol when it first began it was awesome and I loved Simon because he's honest Paula was great becasue she kept a balance of giving you hope even if you sucked badly and Randy was mush mouth with his "Yo, "Yo Dog talk the 3 were great but, when the brought in this stupid Judge Kara it's such a joke when I first saw her on the show and with her jealousy of Bikini Girl it was down hill from there. I, hate her comments because it's so stupid I, find her voice and her just annoying I wish they bring Paula back because since Kara has been on the show I find myself not even watching American Idol like I, once did Ellen is ok but you can see her sometimes desiring the female contestants alot if this show wants to be saved 3 words BRING BACK PAULA!!!!!!!!

  • Letty says:

    She annoyiiiiiiiiinnnnnnngggggggg!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert Clevenger says:

    I find this year quite boring, theres no energy ,
    to the contestant .. I rate the judges even worse
    like no energy no fun ... not like when Paula aAbDul was
    on the show..
    How do you top last year with Adam Lambert who created a new
    show .. every week for Idol..
    If cyrstal bowersox and Siobhan were not there this year thye would have no show ..
    there energy level needs to go way up
    I am surprised the judges picked so may people with no chariam
    or did they do it on purpose
    since simon is on his way out
    henry41

  • Doug says:

    Kara is a complete "Fake"! She is jealous, wicked, mean-spirited and
    deceitful! Need I say more? Oh yes! Lustful! Leave Casey James alone
    and for God's sake stop "pawing" on Simon!

  • alisha says:

    American Idol should never have gotten rid of Paula. Kara sucks and she's always all over Simon. She acts like she tries to act like Paula did with Simon. I also think she's fake after she fake cried after that Big Mike performance that time. I think she's attention seeking. Concerning Ellen, I don't even know why she's on there. She doesn't know what she's talking about.

  • lu says:

    next year is the last year for american idol,because paula and simon and randy really make the show,next year is the last i'll bet anything on that.

  • vic greco says:

    Kara is so full of herself, she thinks she is more popular then what she really is , so she wrote a couple of songs that I never heard of and she thinks thats makes her a no it all, she knows nothing and her comments are meaningless she says the same thing every week, she is not as good as she thinks. I am a jazz musician and have played with some very popular bands and I disagree with her dumb remarks she needs to be replaced from the show.

  • Archie says:

    OMG Kara is a good, constructive judge?!&%?
    You conveniently did not mention when she acted like a out-of-control hormonal cougar and asked Casey to take off his shirt. Professional? Constructive? Indeed. (not)
    She's abrasive, a girl-hater, defensive, argumentative, and thinks her opinion is the best and one and only - and if you disagree or don't comply then she will sabotage you (see: Siobhan) just to prove she was "right".
    She needs to go back behind the scenes, where she came from. There's a reason she does not perform her own songs: she is not likable. I can't stand (um, HATE) her and she actually ruins the show for me.

  • susie langer says:

    In my opinion, Simon is the only real judge on the show. In fact often times I feel like Cara gives the performers the wrong advice. I love Ellen as comic relief but she has no constructive criticism. Let's face it. When someone is a star it is obvious. Simon is the only one who is brutally honest and in this business you need a thick skin or you are done!

  • truefact says:

    I don't think Kara is the best. The only judge I like is Randy and that is because he is a neutral judge.Neutral in the sense that even though he might have a favourite,he doesn't put down others even when they are very good(as opposed Simon Cowell and Kara).Simon is the worst because he picks his favourite (namely Lee and Crystal this season)and then praises them even when they sound horrible then turns around and lashes out at other contestants when they sound good. Frankly, I won't miss him when he leaves.He is crap!!! Then Kara,to me is not a good judge. I think Paula is even better by far. She insults contestants sometimes,not judge them and I think its very very wrong. Ellen is also OK. I hope the show gets rid of Kara and Simon as fast as possible and replace with Paula and another guy.

  • Wally says:

    she is a misfit on the show!! I hope she moves on. I just don’t get her

  • Jake says:

    Kara Giardia talks too much on the show. People complained when Paula did it but why is it OK for Kara to do it? Those teens who watch AI are so fickle. Damn teenagers...who needs them?

  • Emily says:

    Kara is the best judge! I am a HUGE FAN! ♥Kara DioGuardi♥

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