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Posted at 7:14 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Sure, Kara DioGuardi will tell you what she thinks of 'Idol' -- just buy her book

By Lisa de Moraes

Kara DioGuardi wants the press to pay - literally - to get quotes from her about her departure from "American Idol."

DioGuardi came to TV's Winter Press Tour 2011 to talk about her new Bravo songwriting competition, "Platinum Hit." She will be the top judge on a panel that looks at 12 composers who must write tunes - from dance tracks to love ballads - until one contestant is crowned "ultimate hitmaker" and walks away with a $100,000 cash prize, a publishing deal with Sony and a recording deal with RCA/Jive.

Right off the bat, one TV critic asked Kara whether - as she told him when she was still a judge on Fox's "American Idol"- she still felt Idolettes should not be allowed to perform their own songs on her former show. (For the first time, "Idol" this season is going to allow Idolettes to perform their own material.)

"Are you asking questions about 'American Idol' or our show," snapped another "Platinum Hit" judge, Jewel, mistaking herself for a currently relevant recording superstar who can swan around, flicking attitude at members of the press.

Then Jewel let drop that the other day, when she was "talking with Steven Spielberg," blah, blah, blah. Sorry, Jewel, name-dropping doesn't help - it's just sad.

Jewel was a multi-platinum-selling artist in the '90s who lost her career momentum. She tried her hand at country but has not really found her footing. Jewel's latest album, "Sweet and Wild," came out last summer and has sold 130,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen Soundscan. (In marked contrast, her biggest-selling album, "Pieces of You" sold 7.4 million in '95.)

Yet the press in the room gave her a pass during the Q&A period, despite her excess of attitude. We think it's because Jewel still looks very hot and had been poured into a knockout of a red dress. If the The Reporters Who Cover Television have a fault, it is that they are a bit inclined - when some very hot chick looms up on the skyline - to let their mind wander from
the business at hand.

Anyway, getting back to Kara: The former "Idol" judge said that she had no idea what the Fox show was doing and that she did not want to talk here about "Idol" but would answer "Idol" questions privately.

By "privately," it turns out, she meant: "Buy my book."

Critics did not know this; they took it to mean "in the scrum after the Q&A session," because that's usually what bits of on-air talent and network executives mean when they use that gag during Press Tour Q&A's. They like to do that because, while Q&A sessions are transcribed by court reporters, the scrums are not.

But after the session was over, when TV critics clustered around her, Kara also refused to say anything about "Idol." Finally, a woman who had planted herself between Kara and the critics - she turned out to be a publicist - turned to those critics, looking like a queen who has found half a caterpillar in her salad, and snapped that if there were any more "Idol"-related
questions, she'd know what to do about it.

One critic wondered snidely whether that's because Kara's saving it all for a book. Which, turns out, is exactly the case!

It's scheduled to come out in the spring, from HarperCollins, the publicist said as if she meant it to sting.

During the Q&A, Kara insisted that having been a judge on the most popular TV series in the country had nothing to do with her having been asked to be head judge on this new competition show. No, siree - Kara was asked to do this show because she's a "hitmaker," said the woman who penned the Worst American Idol Treacle Tune Ever, "No Boundaries." It's the one that was
so bad, it got dropped from the "American Idol" Tour.

"Songs are the backbone of the music industry, and this show is about finding hit songs and it isn't about whether I was on 'American Idol' or any other show," she said.

"Yes, and I'm thin and have lots of hair," muttered one plumpish, bald TV critic in the room.

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 13, 2011; 7:14 PM ET
Categories:  Winter TV Press Tour 2011  
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