Kara DioGuardi will return for Season 9 of ‘American Idol’

Kara DioGuardi, a.k.a. "the fourth judge," will be back on "American Idol" next season.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed that DioGuardi, a songwriter and producer who was added to the judging panel for its eighth season, has had her contract option picked up for Season 9. "She's coming back for a second season — she really enjoyed the first," said the source, who asked not to be identified.

The filmed auditions begin next Thursday in Denver. And the clock has been ticking on an announcement about DioGuardi's involvement, but that question has been vastly overshadowed by Paula Abdul's very public disputes with the "American Idol" producers over her recently expired contract. David Sonenberg, Abdul's new manager, told The Los Angeles Times on July 17 that Abdul might not come back to "Idol" next season because the producers were being "rude" and "hurtful" in their treatment of her.

DioGuardi, in contrast, apparently sealed the deal to come back to "Idol" weeks ago before the Abdul explosion occurred.

"She's happy to be going to Denver next Thursday," said the DioGuardi source.

— Kate Aurthur

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