American Idol producers, who had vowed to spruce up the show to lure back viewers, announced the first of its changes on Monday -- the addition of a permanent fourth judge, songwriter Kara DioGuardi. Although the final nights of last season's competition remained among the season's highest-rated shows, many of the earlier episodes were well below the series' average audience. (Nevertheless it averaged 28.1 million viewers, higher than the average audience for last week's Olympic Games.) In its report about DioGuardi's addition to the judging panel, Reuters commented Monday, "Self-assured with a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense style, DioGuardi is expected to provide a counterweight to the sometimes gushy, even vacuous on-air persona of [singer Paula] Abdul." Abdul later said during a radio interview, "I am concerned about the audience and acceptance." Speaking with reporters on Monday DioGuardi remarked, "I'm just somebody who's really honest and gives my opinion, and if I feel the need to be hard with someone in order to get that across, I will be. And if I feel I need to be softer and more nurturing with some of the contestants, I'll be that."

26/08/2008