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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