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Kara DioGuardi Exits 'American Idol'

The show has yet to name Season 10's panel, but it seems likely that 'Idol' will return to the three-judge format

September 7, 2010 12:51 PM ET

Kara DioGuardi will not return to American Idol as a judge when the show enters its tenth season this September. "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," DioGuardi said in a statement. "I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol — it has truly been an amazing experience." DioGuardi's departure follows the exits of Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell.

When it was announced that executive producer Nigel Lythgoe would return to the show, rumor had it that he would restore the three-judge panel, and that DioGuardi — who was added as fourth judge during Idol's eighth season — would most likely be the one left out. Randy Jackson, Idol's one remaining judge from the inaugural season, is expected to return. It's rumored he'll be joined by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. But Fox and the Idol producers have yet to make an official announcement about next season's judges. "Kara is one of the world's best songwriters," Idol creator Simon Fuller said in a statement. "She has been passionate and committed to Idol over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come."

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Song Stories

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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