Belfast Telegraph

Kara DioGuardi leaves American Idol

Kara DioGuardi is following Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell out the door of American Idol.

Her departure leaves Randy Jackson, who's been with the singing contest from the start, the last judge standing, for now. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the reported front-runners for the panel.

Producer Simon Fuller called Kara a standout songwriter whom he planned to work with in music "for many years to come".

Kara, whose exit had been rumoured, is a hit machine whose songs have been recorded by Gwen Stefani, Faith Hill, Marc Anthony and others, including past Idol winners.

"I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave Idol," Kara said in a statement, calling her experience as a judge on the show "amazing".

Her statement, issued by Fox, didn't elaborate on her reasons for leaving. Her contract reportedly had a one-year option remaining that the network could have exercised.

Kara's departure comes as the top-rated show continues auditions for its 10th season, which starts airing in January. Tryouts have been held in six cities, with a seventh announced this week for Los Angeles on September 22.

Simon started the exodus from American Idol earlier this year, when he announced he was leaving to launch a US version of The X Factor.

In July, Ellen, who was brought in to replace Paula Abdul, said she was leaving after a single season. The talk show host said she felt uncomfortable criticising young talent.

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