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'American Idol' judge Kara DioGuardi defends Joanna Pacitti inclusion


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/28/2009 

American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi apparently has no qualms about Joanna Pacitti receiving a golden ticket to the eighth season's Hollywood Week despite having significant previous recording industry experience.

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"I do think it's fair because she's facing the same challenges and in some ways more challenges than some of the other contestants," DioGuardi said during a Tuesday interview on The Billy Bush Show radio program. 

"I think she's still facing some of the challenges that she faced when she was on a record label, which are who is she as an artist?  Is her tone that unique that when you turn on the radio you know who it is?  What's that big song that she's going to have?"

According to DioGuardi, the fact Pacitti released an album with Geffen Records in 2006 and had her debut single "Let It Slide" peak at No. 31 on Billboard's Hot 100 single sales chart doesn't necessarily mean the 24-year-old has a leg-up on Idol's other eighth-season hopefuls.

"I don't know that she has any more advantage than any of the other contestants because some of them are as good if not better," DioGuardi told Bush. 

"Just because someone was signed, the fight begins after you've been signed. You know, you've gotta find the great song, you've gotta find a great production, you have to have a great look and image and you know all these things that come into making a hit artist."

In addition, DioGuardi said Pacitti's previous professional experience could actually hinder her when it comes to competing on Idol.

"She's been dropped from a record label, which psychologically puts you in a weird place, right?" asked DioGuardi.  "So, you know, that's why I think she's so emotional on the show... She knows what its like to actually get a deal and then be dropped, which is actually a terrible thing."

DioGuardi -- who was announced as Idol's new fourth judge last August -- added she also plans to "definitely" continue to be vocal with her opinions on the show despite the best efforts of Simon Cowell to silence her.

"It comes from a place of, 'I want to tell this contestant something,' and you know, 'Can you let me give her some constructive criticism?'" DioGuardi told Bush.  "That's what I do every day."

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