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American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi is back in pop music's most powerful court, and we hereby plead guilty to a first-degree obsession.

How did you go from songwriter to American Idol superjudge?

They were looking for a fourth judge, and they wanted to add someone who was in the industry. Plus, I'm known to be ballsy and outspoken. They knew I wouldn't clam up and go under the desk. Although I did want to, believe me!

VIDEO: Kara DioGuardi

Would you have auditioned for Idol when you were starting out?

Yes, but I don't think I would have gotten too far if I was, like, 20.

Are you missing Paula this season?

During the auditions, yeah, I missed her. She was so nurturing, and I try to have some of that in my critiques. I wouldn't say I have the maternal instinct that she had, though. I'm a little bit more New York, a little more hard-edge.

Does Simon ever lay into you the way he did Paula?

Definitely. It's hard for me to say something negative to a contestant without giving something constructive back, and that annoys Simon. But they're kids, and you feel for them - especially when they have a story, like they've overcome cancer or something.

Are you sad that it's Simon's final season?

I have no idea. All I can say is the guy can do things not many folks can get away with, and people like when someone is true to himself.

Are you happy about Ellen joining?

I was like, "Rock on!" Are you kidding? The thing with Ellen I don't think everybody understands is that she's a huge music lover. That's what you need to be on Idol.

Did you get a big response from male idol fans?

I got a couple of proposals and though maybe I'd want to divorce my husband. [laughs]


Check out the Hottest Women of American Idol, and decide for yourself who should have really stayed!

To see more Kara DioGuardi pictures, and our full interview with her, be sure to pick up the March issue of Maxim, on newsstands February 16.

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi

Kara DioGuardi