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Kara DioGuardi: Howard Stern not qualified for 'American Idol' role


By Christopher Rocchio, 02/10/2010 

Regardless of whether the report was true, Kara DioGuardi doesn't feel believe controversial shock jock Howard Stern is qualified to replace departing American Idol judge Simon Cowell after the show's currently airing ninth season.

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"Right now that's a rumor, and I don't really know if I can even speak on it. [But] I don't think he has a musical background or any kind of music... anything. I think that Simon -- if you're going to replace Simon -- you have to have that background," DioGuardi told reporters during a Wednesday conference call.

"You have to have somebody who knows about signing great artists and being a part of their career from the very beginning to the very end... I think that's probably a precursor for whoever takes that position if they're not a big artist who's been through it themselves."

According to a Friday New York Post report, American Idol had approached Stern after hearing his repeated on-air mentions that he is "open to other offers" once his current $500 million Sirius XM Radio deal expires in January 2011.

Stern subsequently confirmed he would be interested in replacing Cowell and made numerous comments that suggested there was merit to the Post's report, which was then denied by two American Idol insiders.

DioGuardi told reporters that "you have to take any rumor you hear about American Idol with a grain of salt" and added "they're usually not true."

In addition, DioGuardi likened recent rumors that Cowell has clashed with new judge Ellen DeGeneres to last year's reports that claimed she wasn't getting along with now departed judge Paula Abdul.

"Last year was Kara and Paula fighting, hate each other... These things are just ridiculous," DioGuardi told reporters.

"We're all there to do one thing and that's to find the greatest contestant that we can find. That's what the focus is, and I know Ellen and Simon both take that seriously."

American Idol's ninth-season Hollywood Week filmed last month but didn't begin airing until last night -- representing DeGeneres' first appearance on the show's judging panel after being tapped to replace Abdul in September.

"To judge on one person's show is very difficult to do. I'm speaking from experience, when I first came in. It's something that takes time to get used to and I think she did an incredible job for her first time there. Hopefully you'll see more," said DioGuardi about DeGeneres.

"When I was sitting next to her, I felt she had a really good handle on whether a contestant had potential, whether they had star quality. She knew if something was off in their vocals or their performance. I thought she delivered the message with kindness but also had criticisms in there."

While she offered insight into how DeGeneres did, DioGuardi declined to compare her to Abdul.

"I really don't want to speak about Paula's absence because you can't really compare Paula and Ellen," she said. "They're completely different and I think they both bring something valuable to the table."

DioGuardi also discussed two stars she wouldn't mind seeing as mentors during the ninth season once the season's finals begin -- starting with Harry Connick, Jr.

"I think he would be great -- especially for standards or maybe even jazz," said DioGuardi before adding she'd also like to see Meatloaf.

"I think he'd be fun for rock. I've actually worked with him in the studio and we actually recorded a song recently. I was very impressed with the way he brought out a different side of me vocally. He kind of has a method acting background, and he applied it to singing and performance."

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