Pop Culture

Nicole Scherzinger out as 'X Factor' judge, Paula Abdul may be gone too

"X Factor" host Steve Jones, second from left, and judge Nicole Scherzinger won't be back for season two, but word is Simon Cowell's pal Paula Abdul is also out.

Updated at 11:48 a.m. PT: Paula Abdul has confirmed her exit from "X Factor." She said in a statement Tuesday:

“Yes, it’s true; I won’t be returning to 'The X Factor' next season.  I’ve learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations.  Simon and I, along with Fox and Fremantle, have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation.  Simon is, and will remain a dear friend of mine and I’ve treasured my experience working this past season with my extended family at Fox and Fremantle. I want nothing more than for 'The X Factor' to exceed ALL of their wildest dreams.  This truly has been a blessing and I am most grateful.”

And it seems executive producer Simon Cowell feels the same about his relationship with the now ex-judge. "You do develop friendships with the people you work with and Paula, in particular, is a very close friend and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future," he said in a statement.

Original story: Talk about after-hours drama!

"X Factor" host Steve Jones announced on Twitter Monday afternoon that he was leaving the singing competition after the show's inaugural season, and shortly after, Fox confirmed that judge Nicole Scherzinger is also gone.

But Jones and Scherzinger reportedly aren't the only two who went to the chopping block. Show insiders told our pals at E! Online that judge Paula Abdul is also not being asked back for season two despite her long history with former "Idol" co-judge and "X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell.

"She found out today," a show source told E! Online. "At this point, the only ones staying are Simon and (judge) L.A. Reid."

Fox has not yet confirmed reports of Abdul's rumored departure.

A show insider told TheWrap.com that producers had expected Abdul to be the "goofy" one on the show, but "was so bad that it made none of it work."

According to TheWrap's source, part of the issue stems from where Fox decided to spend money on the show: The majority of it reportedly went to fancy production work and a great set, while Abdul received a $1 million salary. She earned about $3.5 million during her final season as a judge on "Idol," according to reports.

Abdul has not yet released a statement.

On Monday afternoon, Jones tweeted, "I wont be hosting next seasons XFactor which is a shame but I cant [sic] complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."

That Scherzinger is out is no huge surprise. Shortly after the season ended, she said at an "X Factor" press conference that the job was much tougher than she had anticipated. "The elimination process has been really hard ... it’s something I could have never prepared for," she said at the time. Reports differ on whether she quit or was let go. A source told E! Online that the former Pussycat Doll wants to focus on her music career, while show insiders told TheWrap that she was fired. Regardless, a Fox spokesperson has confirmed her exit.

Another "X Factor" insider also told E! online that "Simon wants to take the show in a different direction."

With at least two, possibly three, of the show's original cast gone, now he has his chance to right his ship. Prior to the launch of the U.S. version of "X Factor," Cowell said that if the show didn't debut with 20 million viewers, it would be a "disappointment." The show drew about 12.5 million viewers on premiere night.

According to TheWrap, the folks behind "X Factor" are already looking for replacements for the judges and host.

Who would be your picks to replace the three? Tell us on our Facebook page!


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