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By Dana Flax

With "Idol" mania in full effect, Parade.com sat down with incumbent lady judge Kara DioGuardi about all the changes happening with "Idol." Check out what she had to say about Ellen's addition, Simon's departure and who should fill his soon-to-be-open seat below, and then read the rest of the interview here.

Incumbent Kara rates rookie Ellen DeGeneres' judging skills:

"I'm very impressed with her. I think she is a natural judge. She knows when someone steps on that stage whether they are a star. She can be warm and funny, but she can also be critical and tell you that you should have done more with the melody or your guitar seemed off. She knows a lot more about music than people think. I think the combination of all sides of her is going to be tremendous. It's been a natural fit."

On whether "Idol" will continue to succeed, sans Simon:

"I think that everybody loves the show because of what it stands for. It enables people who would never have the opportunity to have a shot at their dream. I think that's really powerful. People also fall in love with the contestants and their stories and the fact that you want to root for them every week. I don't see that changing. I don't see people not wanting to see that next year. And even Simon has said that he believes the show will go on to be successful. Of course we'll miss him. He's a great judge. I mean, he's so unique and he says things in a way that I couldn't even imagine. I love his intonations and the way he rolls his eyes. I mean, it's hilarious. But at the same time, the show will stand on its own."

But who could take over the crew neck/crewcut combo from him?:

"There are so many judges that I think would bring a lot to the table and I do believe that we had a bunch of people this year during the auditions who brought their own take. I would always love to see Prince. I think he could be great. I think Paul McCartney could be great. There's talk about Elton John being the replacement, that could be really interesting. There are a lot of people out there that have been really successful in the music industry that I think could give these kids a lot of good advice."

What she learned from her first "Idol" go-round:

"To let go and be myself more and not be so scared of the camera and fearful that I would say the wrong thing. I think that I just have to be more me. I think I held back at times because I wanted to be liked."

On the delicious irony of "Idol" fame:

"It's been crazy! In my lifetime I never imagined doing a photo shoot or being on the cover of Billboard magazine when I worked there as an assistant. It's been life-changing, and I feel lucky to have been picked to be on this incredible show and to be a part of finding talent and changing lives."


More on Wonderwall:

Video: Kara DioGuardi on Ellen Joining 'Idol'

Who do we think should fill Simon's judge's seat?

Get your 'Idol' fix at MSN TV

More on Parade.com:

Photos: Top 10 American Idol Scandals

Take the American Idol quiz!

Video: 'Idol' Winners Audition Tapes