Kara DioGuardi Says Bikini Stunt Changed Her Life

03/15/2010 at 07:00 AM EDT

Kara DioGuardi Says Bikini Stunt Changed Her Life
Kara DioGuardi
We all have our defining moments, but few of us can say they happened when we sang on national television in a bikini. American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi is one of those few.

DioGuardi, 38, tells Women's Health that her stunt on last season's finale, when she stripped down to a two-piece bathing suit to belt out a duet with a contestant dubbed "Bikini Girl," was a pivotal point in her career. "It probably saved my job," she says. "It was a defining moment. Like, 'She's serious and industry, but also as kooky as everyone else on this panel.' "

It wasn't easy to get DioGuardi to do her little swimsuit act in the first place.

"I kept saying no," she says in the magazine's April issue. "I mean, what crazy nut is gonna go out there in a bikini at almost 40 years of age against a girl who is 20 and probably cosmetically enhanced? I looked a little pasty. But hey, at least I didn't wet myself!"

Speaking of moments, DioGuardi hopes she'll be there for the important ones in her future children's lives, though she's guarded on the subject of having kids with her husband Mike. "It'll be a lot of pressure being in charge of a little soul who will someday judge me if I'm not there for the school play," she says.

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