Kara DioGuardi by Lester Cohen/ WireImage.com
Paula is getting reinforcements.

American Idol is adding Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi as a fourth judge this season - which means Paula Abdul will no longer be stuck in the peacemaker role between Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

Asked which of the original judges she is most like, DioGuardi calls herself a "straight shooter," adding, "I don't think I'm similar to anybody. I have my own style, and I'm hoping to add that into the mix."

A mix which is now evenly populated by women and men. "For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges' table. She's been [seen] as an island of consideration and gentle criticism between Randy and Simon," says Mike Darnell, Fox's president of alternative programming. "With Kara by her side, Paula finally has some back-up. There is going to be a lot more 'girl power' on the show."

DioGuardi and Abdul actually go back a ways, having cowritten in 2000 the song "Spinning Around." Though the ladies have yet to touch base since Idol's hiring of DioGuardi, the new judge ventures, "I would think [Paula] would be excited.... I can't imagine her not being happy with it. I'm just looking forward to seeing her again."

DioGuardi's a heavy hitter. Her songs have appeared on more than 100 million records and been recorded by the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Pink.

They have also been performed by Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Natasha Bedingfield, Jewel, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, Bo Bice, Clay Aiken, Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony.

To name a few.

DioGuardi has also been awarded 10 BMI Pop Awards for writing the most-performed songs on radio.

DioGuardi, 37, also appeared as a judge on ABC's The One: Making a Music Star.

The eighth season premieres in January.