Though the eighth season of American Idol is months away, the show is already gearing up to grab ratings: Producers announced today that Kara DioGuardi, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, will be joining  judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.


“We are turning the heat up on Idol this year and are thrilled to welcome Kara to the judges’ table,” says creator and executive producer Simon Fuller in a statement issued today.  “She is a smart, sassy lady, and one of America’s most successful songwriters.  We know she will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the show.”


For the last seven seasons Paula has been the only woman at the table, making for an often uneven battle of the sexes. Producers hope that the addition of Kara will help balance the dynamics the judges have with each other as well as the contestants and viewers.


Kara’s work has appeared on over a million record, including songs recorded by Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and more.


Mark your calendars for Idol‘s return in January 2009!

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