Kara DioGuardi: American Idol's New Judge
updated 09/08/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/08/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT
She's also playing down a dustup with Abdul, who told an Arizona radio station of DioGuardi's hiring: "I am concerned about the audience and their acceptance ... time will tell." Responds DioGuardi: "Anybody with the right brain would say something like that." Abdul—who collaborated with DioGuardi on Kylie Minogue's hit "Spinning Around" in 2000—later told PEOPLE she's "thrilled" about DioGuardi's arrival. "This is great for the show. It's about time—more girl power!"
Though details are still being worked out (like what the judges' critiquing order will be and how a tie would be handled in audition rounds), DioGuardi says Idol wannabes can count on one thing when the eighth season kicks off in January. "I'm going to be honest," she says. "If I need to be nurturing, I will be. If I need to be hard, I will be. I'm up for the challenge."