Kara DioGuardi On Big Mike's 'Idol' Chances

Simon Cowell may have said the “American Idol” Season 9 crowd is Crystal Bowersox’s “to lose,” but Kara DioGuardi is betting on Michael Lynche.

The brunette judge visited “The Tonight Show” on Monday night, where she told Jay Leno that the competition is a little more open after last week’s shocking elimination of Lilly Scott, but “Big Mike” is definitely standing out.

“I think what’s interesting this year is — I was kind of shocked by actually Lilly leaving because I think she really knew who she was and there’s a few contestants now that are really struggling with that, but they have good voices, so it’s gonna be interesting,” Kara said. “Michael — I love him… Crystal.”

And Kara opened up about why she broke into tears for the first time on the show last week after Michael performed Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work.”

“The guy before him had sang the song about kind of his kids and calling home and he was a 16-year-old kid and I really didn’t understand why he picked that song because it wasn’t lyrically relevant, and then ‘Big Mike’ comes out and sings this song that’s kind of an appreciation of his wife and the fact that she’s holding down the fort and I was really moved by it,” Kara explained.

Kara also said she is really enjoying being an “American Idol” judge this season, her second. She said her first, however, wasn’t so fun.

“It was freshman year, it sucked,” Kara told Jay of Season 8. “I’d never been on television. The 30-second soundbite? I’m Italian, that’s impossible… It’s difficult and I think this year it’s more about the contestants because I’m not feeling as nervous.”

As for Ellen DeGeneres, who is in her own freshman “Idol” season, Kara said the blonde funnywoman is doing well.

“I think she’s doing a great job. Again, it’s such a difficult thing — you listen to somebody speak and sing at the same time and you can’t even believe what you have to say to them,” Kara said. “It’s scary… She’s getting used to that I think, that sometimes it’s bad news and it ain’t fun to deliver. That can be troublesome at times.”

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