Simon Cowell’s public statements show that sexual harassment in entertainment isn’t confined to the boardroom or set. He made an obnoxious comment meant to be funny that he initiated the new American Idol judge, attractive songwriter Kara DioGuardi, 37, with a pajama party that included negligees for “the girls,” which presumably also means his coworker Paula Abdul, 46.
“It’s already a big happy family,” Abdul said Tuesday at the American Idol season 8 auditions held in New York. “We are so happy to have her.”
In fact, DioGuardi has already had quality bonding time with all three judges, says Simon Cowell. “We had a picnic last night. I wore jammies and the girls wore negligees and we kind of broke the ice,” Cowell joked. “We had cake until two in the morning.”
Joking aside, DioGuardi says the judges have welcomed her with open arms–yes, even Simon. “You were nice to me,” DioGuardi said to Cowell on the red carpet about their initial meeting. “You were actually OK.”
That was a throwaway comment that Simon meant as a joke, but those are the type of jokes that intimidate and tell “girls” where their place is at work and in Hollywood – even if Simon didn’t consciously mean anything by it. It figures that Simon would say something like that, and it’s pretty telling that big dawg Randy Jackson didn’t make an appearance in his fantasy meet and greet with the new judge.
DioGuardi is largely considered to be a sane counterbalance to Paula Abdul’s often slurry, sometimes incoherent comments on the judges’ panel. Abdul says she’s thrilled to have her, though, and that there is no competition there.
“It’s about time another girl joined,” Abdul told PEOPLE Monday at the U.S. Open opening night celebration in Flushing, N.Y. “More girl power.”
Abdul, 46, who has been an Idol judge for the past seven seasons, says DioGuardi’s songwriter and producer experience will bring a different mix to the table. “She’s going to be a little more different and more from the industry standpoint.”
This isn’t the first time the pop singer has worked with DioGuardi. The two wrote a song for Kylie Minogue called “Spinning Around.”
Despite initial reports of a dustup after Abdul told a Phoeniz, Ariz., radio station Monday, “I am concerned about the audience and their acceptance … time will tell,” both Abdul and DioGuardi say there are no hard feelings.
“Anybody with the right brain would say something like that,” DioGuardi told reporters yesterday.
But will adding another female judge take the spotlight away from Abdul? “No,” says the singer. “This is great for the show. I’ve been waiting for this. I really have and people will love her. She’s great!”
Now that Simon is all focused on getting DioGuardi naked he’ll stop bugging the crap out of Paula while they’re shooting Idol. She probably considers another woman a buffer from Simon’s obnoxious taunting. No wonder she’s so happy to welcome her on.
Here are photos of AI introducing Kara DioGuardi at NYC tryouts at Chelsea Piers yesterday. Ryan Seacrest and Cowell’s hapless girlfriend, Terri Seymour, are also shown.
Credit: Janet Mayer / PR Photos