Kara DioGuardi

New Idol judge Kara DioGuardi isn't naming names, but she is admitting that she's impressed with a handful of the male hopefuls she's seen audition so far — plus a few of the ladies.

Speaking to press on Thursday, the music producer and latest addition to the reality juggernaut stayed mum on who to watch for when the series kicks off Jan. 13. "Looking at all of the contestants on the whole, I felt that the males were the strongest," she told TVGuide.com. "That being said, there are one or two females that I'm excited about as well. And I'm really just waiting for the show to roll and the next phase to see who's going to roll out on top."

DioGuardi did, however, hint at what differentiated some of the male performances she's seen so far, as compared to last year's roster. "There is a uniqueness to some of the male contestants that's different in terms of their voices, the songs they were picking and the general direction of what their record would be." She continued, "What I feel very confident about is that the men in the competition, there's...at least five that are great."

The Idol newbie also shared her views of how each of her fellow judges approaches the competition, and where she fits in. To DioGuardi, Paula has "heart," Simon "tells it like it is," Randy's the "diplomat," and she is a combination of the three, often finding herself in the uncomfortable position of making the call on a contestant.

"I may say things that are negative," DioGuardi explained, "but I always try to do it with heart, and some understanding of what it's like to be on the other side of the table." For her, the show so far has been a natural extension of her work as a songwriter and producer, often nurturing new talent, like (most recently) Colbie Caillat, as well as past Idols like Carrie Underwood.

"I've been involved in so many of these kids' careers," she said. "That's my life. I live for that."

How do you think the new judge will fare with the three veterans?