It's official: Kara DioGuardi is returning to American Idol.
"We are so happy to welcome back Kara for her second season with Idol," the show's creator and executive producer, Simon Fuller, said in a statement Monday. "She is a breath of fresh air, and her passion for music and her understanding of talent is invaluable. This show is all about discovering new talent, and Kara's championing of Adam Lambert is proof positive of her great instinct."
Adds executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz, "Kara brings her own special style and sensibility to the show, which includes her innate talent to identify, nurture and direct a performer's potential. We're very pleased with her contributions as the fourth judge on the panel."
DioGuardi, a singer-songwriter and record producer, was brought on last season as a fourth judge to Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.
While Cowell and Jackson are also slated to return (taping start Aug. 6), it remains to be seen if Abdul will be back. She is still trying to hash out a new contract. On July 30, she Twittered, "I've been trying to work out details of how I can return." The ninth season of Idol premieres in January.