Fox just issued a statement confirming that Kara DioGuardi won’t be returning to American Idol next season. News comes as Jennifer Lopez is finalizing a deal to join the Fox series and amid speculation that Idol might be reverting to the original three-judge format. Also closing in on a deal for the reality series is Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. And executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said last weekend he’s still trying to land Elton John. So Randy Jackson will be the only returning panelist  after Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, and now DioGuardi have gone.

Kara DioGuardi is stepping down from her role as a judge on AMERICAN IDOL. DioGuardi joined AMERICAN IDOL as a judge in the series’ eighth season. “I felt like I won the lottery when I joined AMERICAN IDOL two years ago, but I feel like now is the best time to leave IDOL,” said DioGuardi. “I am very proud to have been associated with AMERICAN IDOL – it has truly been an amazing experience. I am grateful to FOX, FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, as well as the cast, crew and contestants, for all they have given to me. I look forward to my next challenge, and want to thank everyone who has supported me. All the best to everyone on Season 10!”

“Kara was a great addition to our IDOL family,” said Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “I’ve been fortunate to get to know her well, and have always been amazed by her eye for talent and her commitment to developing and mentoring artists. She will be missed, and we wish her continued success.”

“Kara is one of the world’s best songwriters,” stated IDOL creator and executive producer Simon Fuller. “She has been passionate and committed to IDOL over the last two seasons. I will miss having her on the show, but I look forward to working with her in music for many years to come.”