Is Kara DioGuardi Out of Hits?

Things just get worse for Kara DioGuardi's TV career.

There's no doubt that the New Rochelle native is a huge success behind the scenes. She's written or co-written earworms like Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man," Enrique Iglesias's "Don't Turn Off the Lights," Hilary Duff's "Fly," and Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me." The music publishing company she co-owns, Arthouse Entertainment, has even more hits to its name, including Bruno Mars's "Just The Way You Are and Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" (the “clean” version of the original).

But, for some reason, she just can't translate that success to the small screen. Sure, she made it through two seasons (the eighth and ninth) as a judge on American Idol. But she was not well liked on the show—the New York Post  voted her the No. 1 worst TV judge, saying she "can’t decide if she’s a sex object, a sexual harasser, or the savior of Idol"—and she herself found the experience pretty miserable, as reported in Rolling Stone. Worst of all, those two seasons continued a decline in viewers  that started in season seven after an all-time ratings high in season six. (To be fair, the most recent season of American Idol—with judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, a Yonkers native—had even fewer viewers.)

Okay, so maybe Idol wasn't the best fit. This summer saw Platinum Hit, a Bravo reality competition about songwriting. Songwriting is exactly in DioGuardi's wheelhouse, and Bravo's more merit-based approach to reality shows means that she wouldn't have to do any embarrassing stunts like singing in a bikini—something she had to do in the eighth season of Idol. She also had the burden and honor of being named "head judge," on the show, while her cohort Jewel was only the "host/judge."

Platinum Hit finished its first season on Friday. Didn't watch it? That's because nobody did. The show got pretty low ratings overall, and, after the number of viewers dropped from 823,000 to a dismal 397,000, Bravo shunted it over to Friday nights to die a slow death. "The show's first season will most likely be its last," reports (Also, if anyone did watch the finale, do any of you think it's odd that they kept referring to guest judge Leona Lewis as a multi-platinum singer/songwriter, when her biggest hit, "Bleeding Love," was actually written by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder and Ardsley native Jesse McCartney? You think a show called Platinum Hit would have judges who actually wrote their own hits.)

Once again, DioGuardi presided over a ratings disaster. (We're not even talking about The One: Making a Music Star, another show DioGuardi judged back in 2006, which the Washington Post reports debuted "to historically low numbers" for ABC and was canceled after a few weeks.) I'm not sure why Platinum Hit would bomb while something like Top Chef does well. As an audience member, I can hear and evaluate the songs for myself, but I can't really taste the dishes made by Top Chef contestants. Maybe audiences just don't like the awkward way DioGuardi and Jewel posed in their party dresses during the credits/ads for the show. (Why does every Bravo show have ads that involve people posing in party dresses, anyway?)

So, let's hear from you. Why doesn't Kara DioGuardi connect to audiences? Is it a cold personality/demeanor, or is it just rotten luck on her part? Any fans want to defend her? Let me know in the comments.

Photo by Williams & Hirakawa/Bravo


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Westchester's Pop Culture

About This Blog

Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY

Articles Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester Magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at, where she is a staff writer.

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