An Open Letter to Kara DioGuardi

Dear Ms. DioGuardi:

I realize that, by virtue of our longtime Facebook friendship, I could probably go out on a limb and address you by your first name, but I wouldn’t want to lean on that too heavily.

Besides, this is a serious matter.

I’m sure you’ve been following my coverage of the 2011 Winter TCA Press Tour here in Pasadena, so it won’t surprise you that I was in attendance for your panel for Bravo’s new reality competition, “Platinum Hit.” Given your experiences with us TV critic folk on previous tours (not to mention all of the interviews you’ve done outside of the tours), you surely must have known what to expect when you sat down in front of us…

But I’m being rude to the other readers. Since this is an open letter, I should offer my readers a quick blurb about the show you were there to promote.

Here’s what it has to say about “Platinum Hit” on the NBC-Universal website:

Bravo’s new music competition series “Platinum Hit” showcases emerging singer-songwriters on their quest to become the next big hitmaker. The series will give viewers a front row seat to experience the journey and aspirations of these gifted songwriters and an inside look at this unique creative process for the first time. The series will follow 12 musicians as they battle through innovative songwriting challenges that will test their creativity, patience and drive. From dance track to love ballad, every episode will feature a different theme that will require the contestants to write and perform lyrics from multiple genres. Their intimate life stories and personal drama will unfold within the show and in their lyrics as they compete and live together. In the end, only one will be crowned the ultimate hit-maker and walk away with a $100,000 cash prize, a publishing deal with Sony and BMI Songwriters and The Writing Camp, and a recording deal with RCA/Jive.

So there you go.

I know you’re the head judge on “Platinum Hit,” Ms. DioGuardi, and I know that’s what you were there to talk about. I get that. But with that said, you sat before an audience of TV critics, one of whom asked you to offer us some insight into your departure from the show you had previously been here to talk about, “American Idol.”

It was a perfectly reasonable question, one which you and the executive producers of “Platinum Hit,” Evan Bogart and Glenda Hersh, had to know was coming. Instead of answering the question, though, your feathers seemed instantly ruffled. You didn’t want to talk about anything but “Platinum Hit,” and after a throwaway one-liner (“it was an incredible experience, it really was”), the onstage conversation suddenly descended into a defense of your accomplishments as a songwriter…which, of course, we already know all about from all of the pieces we wrote about you when you were on “American Idol.” Worse, when the critic who’d asked the question tried to press the issue to get something of substance on the subject, you said that you’d address it later, but when you were approached after the panel…well, my close friend and Canadian equivalent Bill Harris, man on the scene for the Toronto Sun, wrote it best in his article:

Then afterward in a small scrum, DioGuardi literally scooted away from reporters before cornering herself at the side of the stage. She was asked, “So you really have nothing to say about your memories of Idol, good or bad?”

“You know what? There’s going to be a time when you’ll know all about that,” DioGuardi said.

She then was asked, “When? In a book?” That was when DioGuardi’s personal publicist stepped in and revealed DioGuardi has a book coming out in the spring.


Ms. DioGuardi, I don’t even know what to say. You’re certainly within your right to keep the focus on “Platinum Hit,” and you’re also within your right to save the juicy “American Idol” stuff in order to sell copies of your book, but I just have to believe that you could’ve handled that situation better. I mean, you got booed. Better you should’ve put on a happy face, offered some token tidbit, and then teasingly said, “If you want more, you’ll have to read my book!” Admittedly, that would’ve been frustrating, too, but it still would’ve been better than acting like it was some sort of affront that we should’ve dared to ask you about a legitimate credit on your resume.

Actually, I realize I’m using “we” a whole lot. In truth, I’m really only speaking for myself. But I’m pretty sure that if I performed an informal poll among the critics in the room with me at the moment, the majority of them would agree that you didn’t exactly endear yourself amongst the populace.

Sorry for the tough love, Ms. DioGuardi, but I thought you needed to hear it. Maybe you disagree with what I have to say. If so, keep an eye out for me at the NBC-Universal all-star party this evening. I’d love to hear your take on the situation. But that’s mine, for what it’s worth.




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