Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Jones Not Returning To X-Factor
Simon Cowell sure knows how to clear a room or, in this case, a reality show. Less than stellar ratings on the inaugural season of The X-Factor virtually ensured that there would be some degree of house cleaning during the program's off-season. Speculation was already rampant on which member of the show's cast — comprised of Cowell, American Idol alumna and longtime Cowell partner Paula Abdul, music mogul L.A. Reid, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, and lackluster pretty boy Steve Jones — would get the axe. Bets were being placed, but the final casualty count exceeds expectations!
Host Jones was the first to be shown the door, confirming his departure by tweeting, "I won't be hosting next seasons XFactor which is a shame but I cant complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show." A rep for Scherzinger commented to E! News that the decision to leave was her own. "She wants to focus on her music career. She's spoken to Simon and he's given her his blessing. X Factor took a lot more of her time than she ever expected. She didn't have any time to really work on her music."
Abdul was reportedly the last to part ways with the show. The former singer's mentoring efforts on Season One all failed, making her the first judge to be without contestants. While the extent of the cuts is surprising, Cowell never pretended that anyone was safe. "Simon wants to take the show in a different direction," an insider for the executive producer said. Cowell himself recently opened up about changing his previous vision. "Can we make the show better? Yes. I will never ever go into anything going forward unless I can believe I can make it better," he told People last month.
The new regime leaves Reid and Cowell as the only remaining judges, and lots of pairs of shoes to fill. Rumors are circulating that Mariah Carey and Fergie are a couple of the names on the short list to join the panel. Current judge of the British X-Factor, Kelly Rowland, is also a name that's been thrown around in the press. Only time will tell who comes on to help Cowell helm the second season — they'd just better be worth their salt.
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