January 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
Yesterday, I spoke with American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi, about this season’s contestants, Simon’s surprising departure, Ellen’s much-anticipated arrival and her latest music endeavor—jingles.
You guys have had quite a week—how is everyone handling the news of Simon leaving?
We’re all sad. It’s difficult to see somebody leave who’s been such an important part of the show. He has incredibly unique takes on the contestants, he’s funny and witty, and he’s able to say things in a way that no one else can. We’re going to miss him.
How is Ellen doing so far?
She’s doing an awesome job. And the dynamic is really coming together nicely. She’s a natural judge—she’s warm, funny and critical when she needs to be. She knows about music and can tell when something’s off. I’m really very impressed by her.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard some great songs get butchered. Are there any that you’d like to have banned from the audition room?
[The Jackson 5’s] “ABC” should not be sung by anybody and [The Temptation’s] “Get Ready.” If I ever have to hear those two songs again—other than the originals—I may just have to jump off a bridge. Certain songs are so classic that you should leave them alone.
Who’s been the most memorable contestant so far this season?
Each city has somebody who is really, really not great or really, really good. The man who sang “Pants On the Ground,” was the greatest character ever! I bet he was singing to his grandkids, saying, “You kids gotta pull your pants up. They’re on the floor!” I wish my grandparents had been that creative.
[Check out the "Pants On the Ground" video below]
Who should we have our eye on this season?
I can’t reveal names, but I will tell you the women are a lot stronger than they were last year. The next American Idol could be a woman.
Who’s been your favorite Idol success story?
I love the Carrie [Underwood] story: A girl from a small town who gets access to people she would never have met—and her dream comes alive. That’s why American Idol is so great—it can take someone’s wish and make it happen.
So, tell me about what you’re working on with Folgers.
I had put it out there that I would love to write a jingle. I’ve always wanted to, and one of my all-time favorites is, The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. Folgers is running a contest where you have to remake the jingle—and it has to be very creative—without changing the tagline. The five finalists will come to New York City and perform it for me. Then, the winner gets $25,000 and the chance to be in the commercial. If I’m not going to write it, at least I can judge it! (Visit bestpartofwakingup.com for the rules and regulations)
Are you a big coffee drinker?
I’ve been up since 3 this morning, so today I’ve had three cups—intravenously. (laughs) All Folgers, of course.
How many of you are American Idol fans? Who would you like to see fill Simon’s chair on the judges’ panel?
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