After weeks of speculation
about whether she will stay or go, Kara DioGuardi
is leaving American Idol
, Fox announced Friday.
DioGuardi's move follows the departures of both longtime Idol
judge Simon Cowell
and new judge Ellen DeGeneres
"I felt like I won the lottery when I joined American Idol
two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave Idol
,” said DioGuardi Friday. "I am very proud to have been associated with American Idol
– it has truly been an amazing experience."
The show's creator and executive producer Simon Fuller
said of DioGuardi, who is one of the music world's most high-profile songwriters, "I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come.”
and Steven Tyler
are widely rumored to be in the running to be new judges on the show. Other celeb names that have been rumored as possibilities to fill the judges’ table include Shania Twain, Elton John, Chris Isaak
and Harry Connick Jr.
–Although he was mum about the makeup of the judges panel, producer Nigel Lythgoe
, who is back working on American Idol
, tells PEOPLE about the next season, "We will be bringing the spotlight back onto the talent and away from the judges. I think that's really very important, especially when you lose such a superb judge as Simon Cowell. You need to move the spotlight off him very quickly! But in truth, we've forgotten that it's the talent that drives the program at the end of the day."