Kara DioGuardi talks the new “American Idol” hit “Pants on the Ground, ” plus Ellen DeGeneres joining Hollywood Week and Simon Cowell leaving “Idol” after this year.
How could you not be? He had the funniest message he was sending out. It was like grandpa
didn’t want to just tell his grandkids to pull their pants up, he wrote
a song about it! He was a character. Everybody’s singing it, everybody’s
remembering it and it’s just basically saying, “Pull up your pants.”
Hollywood Week is happening right now. How’s it going with Ellen so far?
It’s been a really easy adjustment. Ellen has a natural ability for judging. She can be very heartwarming and at times critical and she’s so funny, but she knows a lot about music. I was very impressed with her, she knows more than people think. I think she’s going to be a fantastic judge. She’ll comment on someone’s stage presence or that they should’ve done more with the melody or something about their guitar. I’m very, very impressed with her.
Can you comment on the talent? Drop any names?
[laughs] I can’t name any names, but I can tell you that the women are competing for the title of “American Idol” this year. Last year there was a deficit of really good women, but there’s a lot more of them this year that are really strong. It could be the Year of the Woman. Girl Idol.
They all brought something unique because they all come from different aspects of the industry. You have someone like Neil Patrick Harris or Kristin Chenoweth with a theater background or Victoria, who was a pop star with a great sense of style, or Mary J, who is such a great interpreter and sings with such believability, or Joe Jonas, who is younger and a phenomena and knows what it takes to get there. So they brought really current and valid information into the sessions. It was interesting to hear all their different opinions.
Obviously the big news this week was Simon’s announcement. What was your reaction when you heard?
I was sad! I’ve had my moments with him on the show where we kinda disagree, but I have mad respect for him. He’s been an incredible judge. He’s somebody who can say things about songs and the way people sung them in a way unlike anybody I’ve ever heard. At times he can be so mean but he can get away with hit because he’s charming. He’s such a great character and we’re gonna really miss him. I have so much respect for somebody who has done so much with their lives and continued to shape pop culture.
How do you think the show will fare next year without Simon?
The show is an absolutely must-have on their television for so many people. It’s a family show and it’s powerful. It gives the kids the opportunity to follow their dreams, people who would never have access to music industry professionals. It puts them in front of these people and makes their wish become a reality. The audience is engaged with the stories, they fall in love with the idea that somebody could be working in a 7/11 one minute and the next be in L.A. in front of 22 million people.
Have you thought about any possible replacements for Simon?
I’m just getting over the news that he’s leaving and we’re in the middle of Hollywood Week, so we’re really just trying to concentrate on the contestants right now. We gotta put all our energies on that and make sure we pick the right people to go through.
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Photo credit: FOX