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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Interview with Kara DioGuardi for new Bravo show ‘Platinum Hit’

Jewel with Kara DioGuardi on "Platinum Hit," debuting Tuesday, May 30, on Bravo

Jewel with Kara DioGuardi on "Platinum Hit," debuting Monday, May 30, 2011 on Bravo

Kara DioGuardi, a songwriter with dozens of top 10 hits, is now nearly a year removed from her last appearance on “American Idol.”

She was thrust into a thankless role on that show, meaning a role nobody quite knew. She didn’t either, based on her book “A Helluva High Note.”

So when she sensed that “Idol” producers last year weren’t 100% committed to her, she decided to beat them to the punch and resigned first. That also opened up doors for her, including a Bravo reality show that fits better in her lane: a competition among songwriters.

“I love that it’s a show that brings songwriters to light,” she said in a phone interview earlier this month. “A lot of people don’t even know it’s a job. There’s an army of people who do this on a daily basis and make a great living out of it.”

Here are her takes on various topics:

- Gone Country: DioGuardi has recently had great success in the country music realm, including the recent Carrie Underwood hit “Mama’s Song” and the No. 1 Darius Rucker hit “This.” She is now working with Georgia’s Billy Currington, Little Big Town and the Band Perry. At age 40, “I don’t have to be someone going to clubs partying it up,” he said. In country music, “I can be a woman who’s about to get married or write a song about their mother… it allows you to really live in your truth.”

- Mentoring: On “Idol,” DioGuardi was frustrated she couldn’t really mentor the contestants. On ‘Platinum Hit,” she did. “I felt like it was my job to give them that tough love. You better make sure your hooks are catchy and melodies make sense. Many young writers think they’re way better than they are. We have to break them down to build them up.”

- What she learned from “Idol”: “I got comfortable in my own skin on camera. That was a real learning curve. It was really tough. They didn’t explain my role. Was I taking on Paula’s role? But everyone loves Paula! It was bad. It was a bad place. Peopel didn’t even know how to pronounce my name!”

- Working with Jewel as co-host/judge: “It was great. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s coming more from an artist perspective. I’m coming from a songwriters’ perspective. There were times we disagreed. It was always very respectful.”

- Don’t imitate: During the opening episode, one songwriter gets reamed for aping Elton John. “I call them on it” when they copy artists. One woman Sonyae Elise had a great riff “Love It or Hate It.” “That b**** has something going on,” she said she thought immediately. “She had fire and she came from a truthful place.”

- On co-writing songs: “Platinum Hit” features team writing because that’s common for successful songwriters. “One of the biggest things with cowriting, you have to be able to really edit yourself,” she said. “You have to know when your idea is not as good as the person next to you. It’s not about who came up with the lines, it’s about getting the best ones whether it’s yours or somebody else’s.”

- And sometimes, even a hit song isn’t “perfect”: Kara had co-written Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away.” She wishes the line “I’m looking for attention/ Not another question” to “I’m looking for intention.”  Woman, she said, already get plenty of attention.

- Noting how succinct her book was (which was less than 190 pages, not counting the index):”I really wrote this book like I would a song.” Each chapter is based on a song she wrote. “I didn’t have to take anything out. I wrote exactly what I wanted to write. I only went back in my history as far as the history related to that song. So it’s not a full autobiography.

I could have talked with her for another half hour. I had plenty more questions. But my 15 minutes were up.

Just this week, Bravo also announced a possible reality show following Kara around titled “Kara.”

On TV

“Platinum Hit,” Monday, 10 p.m., starting May 30, 2011

32 comments Add your comment

JTesla

May 30th, 2011
11:25 pm

Thanks Rodney!

Seth T

May 31st, 2011
12:51 am

I always enjoyed Jewel’s music, but her stint on “Nashville Star” as a Judge/commentator/mentor, did not sit well for me. To me and some friends who watched the show, she was sometimes over-critical and snotty towards some of the younger female contestants.

That was the year Melissa Lawson won – but haven’t heard much of Melissa since her after-show song came out and she sang at the Olympics.. If I remember right, she was the mother of 4 or 5 children and had once tried-out for American Idol. Anyone hear much about her the past couple years?

[...] RSSMix.com Mix ID 1660970 [...]

Harriett

May 31st, 2011
7:52 am

Well, here’s hoping today livens up a bit more than yesterday. Hope everyone had a great long weekend and did not have to work like I did. Thanks for the interview, Rodney!

Deirdre

May 31st, 2011
7:52 am

Thanks Rodney. I’ll acknowledge that Kara was thrown into a bad situation at Idol. First, people thought she was there to replace Paula…which actually happened. Then, many people hated the 4 judge idea enough to lay the blame on Kara.

The problem I had was more about her lack of warmth the first season and then her trying to over-compensate for that during her second season…to the point where it got icky(she and the guest judges becoming bff’s, her over-the-top bits with Casey James and his shirt)

I think working with Jewel in a new series will show us who the real Kara is because I’m not sure that we saw her on Idol.

Branch Loveless

May 31st, 2011
8:03 am

Thanks for the new thread, Rodney.

To borrow from you: “I skipped “Platinum Hit” but don’t think I missed much”. Was never a Kara fan and don’t believe this would change that.

Mercedes S.

May 31st, 2011
8:14 am

Thanks Rodney, obviously there’s more to this woman than we “got” on Idol.

Deirdre

May 31st, 2011
8:19 am

Just watched a couple of the videos from the show at mj’s. It’s interesting that former Idol semifinalist, Jackie Tohn is one of the contestants and does a lead vocal on the new song. She’s good.

Deirdre

May 31st, 2011
8:28 am

Excuse me, Jackie was a finalist and was the first to be eliminated in season 8.

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
8:39 am

Kara: ”I really wrote this book like I would a song.”

Let’s hope it’s less of a turd of a book than “No Boundaries” was a song. :-)

Rodney Ho

May 31st, 2011
9:03 am

The book isn’t half bad. It is, as she said, a selective history but does show some of Kara’s life, warts and all. She’s blunt and while not terribly warm, doesn’t sugarcoat what she did wrong on “Idol,” especially her deep desire to please Simon season eight to the point of annoying him.

RxDawg

May 31st, 2011
9:03 am

“Just this week, Bravo also announced a possible reality show following Kara around titled “Kara.” ”

Bravo running out of ideas?

RxDawg

May 31st, 2011
9:04 am

I had to work yesterday also, Harriet.

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
9:05 am

Simon wasn’t the only one annoyed! ;-)

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
9:17 am

Cammi317

May 31st, 2011
9:26 am

I did not watch Platinum Hit, it was not on my radar so I forgot about it. On another note, my daughter has brought me over to the dark side. She has declared J-Lo’s song her current favorite, made it her ring tone and plays it all the time. I now find myself singing and dancing to that song throughout the day. I can’t get it out of my head!!!!

Deirdre

May 31st, 2011
9:33 am

Cammi…so sorry! ;-)

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
9:38 am

I’d steal her phone and set it on permanent vibrate!

Deirdre

May 31st, 2011
9:38 am

I must, must, must learn not to trust wikipedia. Jackie Tohn was a semi-finalist(just like I thought until I bowed to the wik) not a finalist!

KPH

May 31st, 2011
9:48 am

I prescibe listening to another song over and over as many times as it takes to get that one out of your head Cammi!

Cammi317

May 31st, 2011
9:59 am

I’m trying. It is soooooooooooooooo AGGRAVATING!!!!!!

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

May 31st, 2011
10:05 am

Hi y’all,

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Kara was put into Idol at a bad time. We didn’t need/want a 4th judge. Her attitude last season when it came to buddying up with Simon and virtually ignoring Ellen was awkward and uncomfortable to watch, imo. Still, good luck to her. I’m not sure I’ll watch, but it is summer and the TV offerings are lacking so I might.

Rickster, thanks, bud! Kelly looked quite lovely and sounded great. Tho, she somewhat overpowered Seal to my ears. Or maybe they’re just well trained to her hear sing above anyone? ;)

Pitchy ™

May 31st, 2011
10:08 am

Good day mates!

Not sure what it is about Kara, but she comes across to me as a little bit of a conceited SNIT! I can’t get over her coming on stage on AI to outdo “bathing suit” contestant. I thought that was inappropriate and tacky. JMO

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
10:17 am

K&CF… Kelly can overpower just about anyone!

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

May 31st, 2011
10:25 am

Rickster, there’s a joke there…but it’s too easy.

Pitchy ™

May 31st, 2011
10:28 am

@k&c – I saw a joke there too and left it alone (smile).

Harriett

May 31st, 2011
10:47 am

Rodney said it best–Kara comes across as “cold.” I always thought so, too.

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
10:50 am

I meant VOCALLY!! :-)

Rickster™ © ®

May 31st, 2011
10:54 am

Caption: Kara describes post-enhancement “Bikini Girl” while Jewel looks on in disbelief that she has to share the stage with an AI reject.

♥ kelly&carriefan ♥

May 31st, 2011
10:56 am

Rickster, :lol: <- That is all!

Pitchy ™

May 31st, 2011
10:58 am

Why is she even still talking about Bikini Girl? It was a moment she shouldn’t be basking in!

Harriett

May 31st, 2011
11:08 am

New thread up.