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Kara DioGuardi understands why ABC pulled the plug on Adam Lambert.
"We're living in a pretty bad economic time, so they have to do what they have to do to keep their advertisers," DioGuardi tells me exclusively. "Networks are doing what they think their viewers want and don't want, so it's just budgetary."
That said, the American Idol judge didn't see anything wrong with Lambert's controversial man-on-man performance at the American Music Awards.
"We always know he's going to shock us, right?" she says. "He's going to wow us and give us the unexpected, and that's his thing...That's what we look for."
Meanwhile, DioGuardi has a lot to celebrate right now. Her work can be heard on Grammy-nominated albums from Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Colbie Caillat.
"They're incredible," DioGuardi said about the trio. "Some of the best, and it's because they're very unique. They have their own style."
And then there's Jason Derulo and Iyaz, two Top 10 artists that Dioguardi signed to Warner Bros.
Making music and artist development is always her top priority: "That has to be my main thing, or else I have no legitimacy on the show."
And when DioGuardi isn't working, she's enjoying life with her hubby of five months, general contractor Mike McCuddy. We imagine he must be lovin' DioGuardi's now famous bikini bod. She laughs, "I give him his own personal videos—sans the bikini."
Remember when? Check out our 2009 American Idol Finale gallery.