EXCLUSIVE: Kara DioGuardi picks favorite ‘Idol’ contestants, performance and judge (sort of)

Just before Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of chatting up New Rochelle native and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Kara DioGuardi, who on Aug. 25 Fox announced as the fourth judge on “American Idol.”

new-idol-panel.jpgA true LoHudder, her connections to the region are seemingly endless. As a child, she attended Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale, sang at the Larchmont Shore Club and provided the soundtrack at campaign stops throughout Westchester County for her father, former U.S. Congressman Joe DioGuardi. She later graduated from The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry. Despite graduating from Duke University with a degree in political science, she abandoned law to become a vocalist in an Ossining garage band called Gramma Trips.

After snagging multiple jobs at Billboard magazine for a five-year span, she got signed to a record deal. Although her singing career never took off, her songwriting and producing gigs did. She was partially or completely responsible for writing Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away,” Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” and dozens of other recent hits. No wonder she was named BMI’s 2006 Pop Songwriter of the Year.

My full story about DioGuardi is slated for the week ahead, but in the meantime, check out 10 questions and answers from my exclusive interview with “Idol’s” newest judge:

kara2.JPGWhat recent song do you most wish you’d written?
“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé.

As a singer, how far do you think you would advance on “American Idol”?
“I would hope to the top 10.”

How long have you been watching “Idol”?
“Since the beginning.”

You’d said that you thought “Idol” would have hired someone more famous to fill the fourth judge’s chair. Had you heard of any famous names who were being considered?
“They kind of kept me in the dark. I hadn’t really heard anything.”

As of Aug. 28, who was the most famous person outside of the show to congratulate you for the “Idol” hire?
“Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics).”

From the first seven seasons, who have been your three favorite “Idol” alumni?
“I’d say Kelly Clarkson, (Chris) Daughtry and, hmm, I like Katharine McPhee.”

Who’s the most underrated “Idol” contestant of all time?
“Katharine McPhee.”

What’s your favorite “Idol” performance so far?
“I thought that ‘Billie Jean’ performance that David Cook did was ridiculous.” (In the good way.)

The perception among fans is that Simon Cowell’s the bad cop, Paula Abdul’s the good cop and Randy Jackson’s somewhere in between. With which judge have you sided the most through the years?
“Probably Simon. Sometimes he can be hard, but I also think at times he’s doing people a favor.”

For your first day judging “Idol” contestants, you sat between Randy and Paula at the judges’ table. Where would you want to sit?
“You know at this point, I’m pretty much just like, ‘Where do you want me?’ I’m the new kid in school. I’m not going to cause waves right from the beginning.”

(AP Photo of Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson/Jason DeCrow; AP Photo of DioGuardi/Chris Pizzello)

EXCLUSIVE: Transcript of Isaac Mizrahi’s interview with Suburbarazzi

Isaac Mizrahi was in Eastchester on Saturday, in case you hadn’t heard.

And as I predicted, my final question of the interview was the one I was most afraid to ask: “If you happen to like the outfit of anyone who comes up to you on line today, will they get the (Scarlett) Johansson Treatment?

Mizrahi was taken aback for a moment, then played it off like a pro.

<blockquote><div>Oh! Well, that was about the bra. That was a big misunderstanding. It was like, “Oh, what’s your bra?� And three minutes later, it was like the end of the world. (Johansson)’s adorable.</div></blockquote>

Well there you have it. If you missed any of the interview, click the link below to view the entire transcript.

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Exclusive! Isaac Mizrahi on LoHud, red carpets and Britney Spears

Before dishing the details behind his late-January car accident that fractured his hip, Isaac Mizrahi talked to Suburbarazzi about a wider range of topics during the same exclusive sit-down interview.

At the start of this Feb. 24 discussion at the Lord & Taylor branch in Eastchester, topics included his previous visit to LoHud territory, his thoughts on Hollywood stars who could use StriVectin (the anti-wrinkle cream he was pitching that day) and his genuine appreciation of Britney Spears. He also discussed why he doesn’t plan on doing any more red carpet analysis for the Oscars.

<blockquote><div>When was the last time you were in Westchester, Putnam or Rockland?

I know I came here with my mother when I was a kid, and it was this Lord & Taylor. This is sort of a real flagship Lord & Taylor. I know when I was a kid, I came here but that was probably the last time. But I have to say, on my way in, I was considering (the area), because it’s such a great alternative, because it only took an hour to get here.

So who in Hollywood in most in need of StriVectin?

(Laughs and “oohs� come from Mizrahi’s entourage and Lord & Taylor personnel.) I think a lot people in Hollywood have too much face work. I really do. I wish before they had the work done they had thought a little bit about the stretch mark cream. Because I think everybody (with plastic surgery) looks odd; I really do. First of all, I can tell usually that they’ve had the work done. I don’t know who they think they’re fooling.

Speaking of Hollywood, are you doing the red carpet (analysis at the Oscars)? </div></blockquote>

Find out Mizrahi’s answer, his favorite Hollywood red carpet fashionistas and his take on Britney Spears after the break.

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