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Sunday, April 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Better not let her guard down

Kara DioGuardi (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Kara DioGuardi (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

New “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi says she and Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson are getting along just fine.

“It’s very pleasant; there was never any weirdness. They were very accepting of me,” she says of the audition episodes that kick off the eight season of “Idol,” beginning Tuesday.

The songwriter-producer is a hit machine whose songs have been recorded by Gwen Stefani, Faith Hill and Marc Anthony.

“I hope people find I bring something to the show that’s different, and I can help these contestants learn something, whether they win or not,” DioGuardi says.

Her pocket description of her new colleagues: “Paula has a lot of heart. Simon pretty much tells it like it is; sometimes he can be pretty harsh but he’s usually right. And Randy’s, just, he’s the diplomat.”

Cowell is trying to be diplomatic about DioGuardi’s arrival.

“I have been very, very happy with this panel for years because we did have a unique chemistry,” he says. “I genuinely don’t know until I watch the show whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.”

Trapped in the grind? Fly away

Singer R. Kelly and his wife of 11 years, Andrea, have finalized their divorce and will share custody of their three children.

The 41-year-old Kelly – known for such hits as “Trapped in the Closet,” “Bump N’ Grind” and “I Believe I Can Fly” – was acquitted of child pornography charges last year.

Like kissing your sister?

They play brother and sister on “Dexter.” Now Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are real-life husband and wife.

Hall’s spokesman confirmed Friday that the couple eloped on New Year’s Eve.

They’ve been quietly dating for about a year and a half.

A life out of whack

Former “Sopranos” actor Lillo Brancato Jr. was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for a botched burglary in which an accomplice killed an off-duty police officer.

Brancato, who rose to fame in 1993’s “A Bronx Tale,” played an apsiring mobster in the second season of the HBO series.

Having to say he’s sorry

Ryan O’Neal pleaded guilty to a felony drug charge Friday and was ordered into an 18-month drug diversion program.

The 67-year-old, Oscar-nominated actor (“Love Story”) was arrested in September along with his son and charged with methamphetamine possession.

You, too, can be a journalist

Bono will write an occasional op-ed column for The New York Times.

The first column by the U2 singer, an advocate in the fight against AIDS and poverty in Africa, will appear on Sunday.

The birthday bunch

Singer Rod Stewart is 64. Musician Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) is 61. Actor William Sanderson (“Deadwood”) is 61. Singer Pat Benatar is 56. Singer Shawn Colvin is 53. Singer-guitarist Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets) is 50. Singer Brad Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) is 45. Actress Trini Alvarado is 42. Rapper Chris Smith (Kris Kross) is 30.

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