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DioGuardi felt 'insecure and nervous' on 'Idol'

Former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi says in her new memoir, "A Helluva High Note," that Simon Cowell never really accepted her and that the show failed to sell her to fans.
/ Source: Rolling Stone

Remember when former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi stripped down to a bikini and upstaged Katrina "Bikini Girl" Darrell during the season 8 finale? In DioGuardi's new book, "A Helluva High Note," she reveals that the incident humiliated her and she spent weeks begging the show's producers to cut the bit.

"I truly wanted to be cooperative," she writes. "But what they were asking me to do seemed above and beyond the call of duty. I couldn't sleep or eat...When we wrapped, I went back to my trailer outside the Nokia Theater and bawled uncontrollably for 20 minutes...I had gone from the heights of success to the depths of humiliation."

Here are other highlights from the book:

  • She had an incredibly difficult time getting along with Simon Cowell. "I smoked way too many cigarettes (a nasty habit I had previously kicked) outside the set in an attempt to bond with him," she writes. "But he wasn't having any of it. I hated myself for seeking his approval. I have never been that person. I say what I feel and I don't kiss ass for anything, but if I couldn't get him to acknowledge or engage me, I was going to be in big trouble when the light turned red."

  • DioGuardi suspects that Fox had ulterior motives for hiring her in the first place. "My sad take is that they were never interested in me for my accomplishments or how I could really help the contestants," she writes. "As proof of that...I don't think I was every properly credited or introduced to the viewers. I felt more like I was there to serve ulterior motives and ones that I could never achieve for them. I'm willing to bet that in Simon Cowell's mind, I was Simon's Fuller's girl, and that made me suspect no matter what I said and did. Under those circumstances, I could see why Cowell was less than kind to me at times, but it still hurt."
  • She feels that she never quite found her voice on the panel. "My on-camera presence was cold," she writes. "But that was because I felt so uncomfortable, insecure and nervous. The woman I used to be — the one who had forged ahead in a sea of doubt and had still risen to the top of the music business despite the bumps in the road — was gone. I was in a foreign place, speaking a foreign language with no translator. I could never seem to let the real me out."
  • During the season 9 Hollywood week one contestant was eliminated in what seemed like an oversight by the producers. "I saw her walking out of the auditorium crying," DioGurardi writes. "She was still on the judges' list. So Randy, Ellen, Simon, and I tried to fight for her, but we weren't permitted to change the decision. There was one other contestant some of us wanted as well, but there seemed to be an air of suspicion that Simon might be trying to sabotage the contestant pool in the wake of his leaving. I don't know about that, but from my perspective he was definitely trying to help the show. I felt awful for these contestants...By the end of the week I didn't have a good feeling about the mix of talent we'd ended up with, and I was right."
  • The news of her firing came as a shock. "No one even gave me a heads-up that my job was in jeopardy," she writes. "In fact, just two weeks before I was speaking to an executive producer about the upcoming season's schedule. Then again, who really ever knows that their bosses are considering replacing them? Lucky for me, the janitorial closet they called my dressing room had long been disassembled, so no walk down the corridors with my personal effects in hand was necessary."