"American Idol" Adds Songwriter As Fourth Judge

August 25, 2008 2:34 PM ET

Whether they're mining for viewers, wanted a fresh opinion or needed a back-up plan in case of Paula Abdul's inevitable meltdown, American Idol will welcome a fourth judge to the program this year, executive producer Simon Fuller said. Grammy-winning songwriter Kara DioGuardi will sit at the judges' table as the show goes into its eighth season amidst slumping ratings. DioGuardi is no stranger to the show, having already penned songs for Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPhee. Additionally, DioGuardi has written major hits for Christina Aguliera ("Ain't No Other Man"), Hilary Duff ("Come Clean") and Ashlee Simpson ("Pieces of Me"). On the downside, DioGuardi also worked on albums by Lindsay Lohan, Kelly Osbourne and Paris Hilton. Idol's decision to go with four judges fulltime was partly inspired by the fact that the format had worked well on international Idol programs.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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