Fox's producers have unveiled singer-songwriter Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge for the next season of American Idol.

The show, whose eighth series begins in January next year, is the US equivalent of The X Factor and will feature the new addition to balance up the genders.

Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson will be joined by DioGuardi to balance things up, as the show mirrors The X Factor in moving from three to four judges.

The programme's producers are certainly playing up the gender card, ignoring the fact they were the ones in the position to make the change beforehand.

Mike Darnell, president of alternative programming of Fox, said: "For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges' table.

"She's been as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon, offering her invaluable expertise as a performer and number one artist to the thousands who have competed on American Idol.

"With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up and now there is going to be a lot more 'girl power' on the show."

DioGuardi certainly has impressive credentials. She won the BMI pop songwriter of the year award in 2006 and her work has appeared on over 100 million records.

In the last three years alone she has had nearly 50 international charting singles and her songs have been performed by artists including Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Avril Lavigne and the Pussycat Dolls. Former American Idol winners Taylor Hicks and Kelly Clarkson are also on that list.

25/08/2008 20:37:27