DioGuardi Gets Why People Didn’t Like Her
The A&R executive also dispels any rumors that she had anything to do with Paula Abdul's leaving the show.
"Last year was very difficult. I think because it's already a great show with amazing ratings, people were like, 'Why would they add somebody else and break up the chemistry? Why is there this fourth person? Is she replacing Paula?' which was the most ridiculous thing," says DioGuardi. "People could barely pronounce my name. ' If you're going to replace Paula, it should be some big star, not Karla DeLaGuardia' — that's what most people were saying," she recalls. "Why would anyone ever think that I would be there to replace her? She's someone who helped make the show as successful as it is."
However, DioGuardi says she can understand why people didn't take to her right away. "I looked at the show and I was like, 'Who the hell is that girl?' I was so annoying. I was like some librarian. I needed to loosen up. It wasn't really me," she claims. "I have kind of a potty mouth, which I couldn't use. At times, it all felt a little too controlled. It was even more difficult because I've never been in front of 30 million people. I was somebody in the back of the studio so I was extremely nervous," DioGuardi tells us. "There were times in the beginning where I would just say, 'Yes, I like you.' I just wanted the camera off of me. It's just a weird thing when you're not used to it, but I definitely feel more comfortable now and I feel like my personality is going to come out more. I'm there for a reason. I'm somebody who works with a lot of these kinds of kids. I think by the end of last season, I had converted a few more fans, but hopefully, people will warm up to me more and give me a shot."
"Drop Dead Diva" star Brooke Elliott has been sifting through prospects for work before March, when she heads into Season 2 production of the Lifetime series that just won her a Best Actress Satellite Award nomination last week. But she tells us she's being careful and doesn't plan to rush into anything. She's got a tough act to follow — herself — considering her performance in the tricky role of the spirit of an air-headed model who is now inhabiting the well-upholstered body of a smart, crusading attorney.
"It's been this fantastic whirlwind, lots to do filled with all different experiences," she tells us. As far as the Satellite honors, "It's just so nice to be recognized. A friend of mine wrote me a text — 'You just got nominated for a Satellite Award!' I was so excited."
Brooke, known to Broadway audiences from her work in shows including "Wicked," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Taboo," is also pleased to be getting kudos from everyday folks. "I do get stopped on the street a lot — people just coming up to me and telling me how much they like the show. Because we shoot in (Peachtree City) Georgia, and we're in a little bit of a bubble down there, we kind of don't know what people are thinking, how they're receiving the show and our performances. So when they tell us they like it, it's like, 'Oh, good. All our hard work is paying off."
"Diva" has proved a magnet for high-profile guest stars, including Paula Abdul, Tim Gunn, Liza Minnelli, Elliott Gould — and Brooke's "Taboo" mentor, Rosie O'Donnell, who played a judge. Will she return?
"I hope she does!" Elliott enthuses. "It's amazing that all of these stars wanted to be a part of the show. I really attribute it to the show being something different, and on some level, we were craving something different."
Kevin McKidd of "Grey's Anatomy" is happily looking forward to his trip to the Pixar headquarters in Emeryville, Calif., next month — because he'll be meeting with creative forces at the animation empire to talk about their big movie for 2012. "I've been asked to do a voice in it. I'm so excited — the idea of becoming a part of that universe," notes the Scotsman. He'll be seen as the Olympian Poseidon in Chris Columbus' Feb. 12 release, "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief." Considering that the god of the sea is usually depicted as a pretty ripped dude, did McKidd work out to get ready?
"Right at the last minute, they changed the wardrobe concept and gave us all armor and arm bracelets," he replies.
Even as Tim Burton preps his "Alice in Wonderland" for its March 2010 opening, the filmmaker's busy overseeing voice casting on his stop-motion animation project, the full-length version of his 1984 "Frankenweenie" short. Casting notices have gone out for several children's roles.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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