Confirming what had long been rumored/expected/feared, FOX announced Monday (Aug. 3) that Kara DioGuardi will be returning to "American Idol" next season.

What of Paula Abdul? Nobody's saying anything. But Kara's back, so isn't that enough cause for celebration for one Monday?

"We are so happy to welcome back Kara for her second season with 'Idol,'" says series creator/executive producer Simon Fuller. "She is a breath of fresh air, and her passion for music and her understanding of talent is invaluable. This show is all about discovering new talent, and Kara’s championing of Adam Lambert is proof positive of her great instinct."

DioGuardi, a Grammy nominated songwriter, made her debut during the show's 2009 season as part of a major shakeup that brought four judges to the panel and often left episodes running long. Reviews for her judging contributions were... mixed.

With Abdul's status in negotiating limbo, though, "America Idol" producers are just happy to have somebody signed, sealed and delivered.

"Kara brings her own special style and sensibility to the show, which includes her innate talent to identify, nurture and direct a performer’s potential," says executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "We’re very pleased with her contributions as the fourth judge on the panel."

Adds FOX reality guru Mike Darnell, "Kara’s spitfire personality and sharp musical sensibility infused 'American Idol' with a new energy last year. She clearly has a keen eye for talent – spotting Adam Lambert’s superstar quality early on last season – and her performance on the Season Eight finale was one of the most memorable in recent 'Idol' history."

Wait. Was Adam Lambert such a diamond in the rough that two different press release quotes should salute DioGuardi for her risk-taking support? Wasn't he lauded from his first audition? And no mention at all of DioGuardi's largely derided coronation song? In "Idol" land, you've got to accentuate the positive, elimination the negative and also spin Mr. In-Between as another positive.

 

Season Nine of "American Idol" will premiere on FOX this January.