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Idol: Does the New Judge Want Paula Abdul's Job?

Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

There's a new judge in town, and she's not about to take any of Simon Cowell's crap. Kara DioGuardi joins the table when the eighth season of American Idol hits Fox in January, and she's prepared to make her voice heard, despite the major changes in the coming season. The new girl has spunk, but there's a lot of speculation that this is just a tricky way to edge out Paula Abdul.

So does Kara want Paula's coveted spot? Here's what she tells us...

"Oh no. Why would I take her place?" Kara says. "She's great. People love her, I'm hoping they like me. I'm not worried about taking Paula's place, I'm trying to make sure people like me."

Kara DioGuardi, Elizabeth Reaser FOX, David Livingston/Getty Images

That shouldn't be a problem for the 39-year-old AI judge. With writing credits on episodes of The Office British version and Smallville, how could we not like this girl? She's also a dead ringer for Elizabeth Reaser in looks and personality, so if you miss The Ex List, at least you can see Kara search for the next American Idol on Fox. (FYI: She's none too shabby as far as the music industry is concerned, either, having cowritten several Kelly Clarkson songs and sung backup for a little-known singer by the name of Céline Dion.)

So will she be as relaxed as Randy? As crazy as Paula? Or as mean as Simon? "I have an opinion, I have something to say, I have a lot of experience, and I'm going to voice that…If there's a kid that I feel needs a tough approach, that's what I'm going to give them." This New York native definitely has a lot to bring to the table, especially since she tells it like it is: "I'm always honest, I always tell the truth straightforward."

At least now the playing field at the judges table is even, says Kara: "Two guys, two girls. Sometimes the girls don't agree with the guys." But this doesn't mean she and Paula will double-team the boys. "Sometimes I agree with one or two of them, it goes back and forth," she adds.

Simon Cowell A. Rapoport/FOX

There could be trouble brewing since a few things will be different this season, namely the fact that Simon Cowell has more power than ever. "The biggest change is that Simon is the tiebreaker," says Kara. "If you agree with him, great, but if you don't there's definitely going to be some contention there. It's kind of minute by minute now with this new tiebreaking thing, everyone on the panel could seem to be getting along, and then he says he wants to put them through or not put them through, and all hell can break loose."

With the auditions out of the way, there are already people Kara's excited for. "Yes, I say there are a handful of contestants I'm very excited about. I'm really looking forward to when we get down to the top 12, really seeing which ones take the ball and run with it." See if you can spot them when American Idol returns to Fox Jan. 13.

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