Kara DioGuardi finally talks American Idol, from “the depths of humiliation” to “moments of joy”

Kara DioGuardi’s memoir A Helluva High Note: Surviving Life, Love, and American Idol was released today, and in it she describes everything from being “rejected and disrespected publicly” to “the depths of humiliation” of being on American Idol for two seasons. This is the book she told TV critics to wait for when they asked about her time on the Fox show, prompting Jewel to defend her and critics to boo her.

She provides evidence that she quit by asking to be let out of her contract about a month before her official departure was announced, although her Aug. 5 letter to producers followed speculation she’d be fired.

The book also reveals that she was sexually abused as a child, raped by a music producer, and sexually harassed by an unnamed famous artist, and the attention to those details by gossip magazines last week surprised her. In an interview about the book, Kara told The Daily Beast that those events “affected me as a person to get me to where I am,” but those reports were “positioned in a way that’s totally not about who I am. Like I’m a victim. I’m anything but a victim.” She added, “I wake up and I’m the poster child for molestation.”

In the book (you can read the first chapter free on Amazon), Kara is honest: She writes, “I hated myself for seeking [Simon Cowell's approval," and of the coronation song she wrote, "No Boundaries," she admits, "Watching [Adam Lambert and Kris Allen] sing that live was like watching a plane fall from the sky.”

In the interview, Kara says, “There were days when I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is hard–I don’t know why I’m doing this. But there were also moments of joy as well. And as I say, I’m so glad I did it. It’s literally because I am better for it.”

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Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.