'American Idol' talk is off the table for former judge Kara DioGuardi

Full stop: Former
Full stop: Former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi would not talk about her old show Thursday . (Mario Anzuoni)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 9:39 PM

PASADENA, CALIF.

Kara DioGuardi wants the press to pay - literally - to get quotes from her about her departure from "American Idol."

DioGuardi came to TV's Winter Press Tour 2011 Thursday to talk about her new Bravo songwriting competition, "Platinum Hit." She will be the top judge on a panel that looks at 12 composers who must write tunes - from dance tracks to love ballads - until one contestant is crowned "ultimate hitmaker" and walks away with a $100,000 cash prize, publishing deal with Sony and recording deal with RCA/Jive.

Right off the bat, one TV critic asked Kara whether - as she told him when she was still a judge on Fox's "American Idol" - she still thought Idolettes should not be allowed to perform their own songs on her former show. (For the first time, "Idol" this season is going to allow Idolettes to perform their own material.)

"Are you asking questions about 'American Idol' or our show," snapped another "Platinum Hit" judge, Jewel, mistaking herself for a currently relevant recording superstar who can swan around, flicking attitude at members of the press.

Then Jewel let drop that the other day, when she was "talking with Steven Spielberg," blah, blah, blah. Sorry, Jewel, name-dropping doesn't help - it's just sad.

Jewel was a multi-platinum-selling artist in the '90s, but she lost her career momentum. She tried her hand at country but has not found her footing. Jewel's latest album, "Sweet and Wild," came out last summer and has sold 130,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen Soundscan. (In marked contrast, her biggest-selling album, "Pieces of You" sold 7.4 million in '95.)

Yet the press in the room gave her a pass during the Q&A period, despite her excess of attitude. We think it's because Jewel still looks very hot and was poured into a knockout of a red dress. If the The Reporters Who Cover Television have a fault, it is that they are a bit inclined - when some very hot chick looms up on the skyline - to let their minds wander from the business at hand.

Anyway, getting back to Kara: The former "Idol" judge said that she had no idea what the Fox show was doing and that she did not want to talk here about "Idol" but would answer "Idol" questions privately.

By "privately," it turns out, she meant: "Buy my book."

Critics did not know this; they took it to mean "in the scrum after the Q&A session," because that's usually what on-air talent and network executives mean when they use that gag during Press Tour Q&As. They like to do that because, while Q&A sessions are transcribed by court reporters, the scrums are not.

But after the session was over, when TV critics clustered around her, Kara also refused to say anything about "Idol." Finally, a woman with a face like a brewing storm who had planted herself between Kara and the critics - she turned out to be a publicist - turned to those critics, looking like a queen who has found half a caterpillar in her salad, and snapped that if there were any more "Idol"-related questions, she'd know what to do about it.


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