Hit singing show 'X Factor' cleans house - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Hit singing show 'X Factor' cleans house

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Paula Abdul was a co-judge to Simon Cowell on 'American Idol.' (Source: CNN) Paula Abdul was a co-judge to Simon Cowell on 'American Idol.' (Source: CNN)
Nicole Scherzinger signed on to 'The X Factor' as a co-host before replacing British singer Cheryl Cole. (Source: CNN) Nicole Scherzinger signed on to 'The X Factor' as a co-host before replacing British singer Cheryl Cole. (Source: CNN)
Abdul and Scherzinger share an embrace on the 'Factor' red carpet. (Source: CNN) Abdul and Scherzinger share an embrace on the 'Factor' red carpet. (Source: CNN)

LOS ANGELES (RNN) - The cast of Fox's hit reality singing competition The X Factor will undergo a monstrous shakeup for its second season.

Reports from late Monday evening indicate that the show's two female judges, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, will not return for the show's sophomore season. Host Steve Jones is also out.

The changes leave judges Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid, the famed record producer, as the sole returning talent going into the fall. In short, a whole new show is about to be born.

The stakes are high for Cowell, who famously said he would consider the U.S. incarnation of his hit-British competition series a failure if it got less than 20 million viewers per episode.

The show's first season came and went, and its ratings weren't quite so juggernaut. According to the Los Angeles Times, 12.4 million people turned in for Factor's season finale. That is a far cry from the 29.3 million viewers USA Today reported for American Idol's 10th season finale last May.

Cowell is a household name thanks to the brutal honesty he dealt aspiring singers on Idol, which became the No. 1 during his stint.

At the end of Factor's debut season, Cowell told CNN, "Never finish a season thinking it's the best you've ever done, because you have to feel that you can get better ... I think I probably came here a bit too cocky, but I'm cocky by nature."

But Factor was by no means a flop. According to Entertainment Weekly (EW), it finished the fall season as TV's No. 1 reality show.

Factor also showed it has legs in a market that has become increasingly saturated with talent competition shows. NBC now airs America's Got Talent, The Voice and The Sing-Off. Talent's finale earned more viewers for its finale than Factor, but its stage isn't limited to singers. Factor easily topped the The Voice's 11 million viewer finale. Sing-Off isn't even comparable.

The numbers demonstrate one thing: Potential.

"Fox and Cowell are determined to make changes to the series after a first season that performed solidly, but fell short of what many felt was the show's high potential given its ratings dominance in the UK," EW's James Hibberd reported as Monday's casting changes were announced.

Among the ousted is poorly-received Jones, who publicly announced his departure Monday via  Twitter.

"I wont be hosting next seasons XFactor, which is a shame, but I cant complain as I've had a great time (sic)," Jones wrote on his official Twitter account. "Good luck to everyone on the show."

According to E! News, Jones' manager, John Ferriter, said his client's split from the show was "totally amicable."

A similar rumor of an amicable parting with Scherzinger, who was famously booed by the show's audience last season for her role in contestant Rachel Crow's departure, also seems to be circulating. The former Pussycat Doll is set to kick of a European tour in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 13. A source told E! News that the six-day per week commitment didn't leave Scherzinger any time for music.

"She wants to focus on her music career," the source said. "She's spoken to Simon (Cowell) and he's given her his blessing."

But according to Deadline's Nikki Finke, "amicable" may not be the right adjective.

"I understand from sources that none of the three left on their own accord and that it was cleaning house day at the so-so rated reality series," Finke wrote on Monday evening.

Fox has officially acknowledged the exits of Jones and Scherzinger, Hibberd reported. As for Abdul, however, word remains mum. As recently as Monday evening the singer replied to the tweet of a fan who expressed her admiration for Factor.

High-stakes negotiations between Abdul and Idol fell flat in 2009, leading Fox to show her the door.

"It'll be interesting to see if there's any backlash against Simon because of Paula's popularity," Finke went on to say in her report.

Whatever the case, each of the three departing talent fared better than UK-transplant Cheryl Cole, who was given the boot by producers after just one taping. Scherzinger, who was originally tapped to co-host with Jones, was her replacement.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • Of the departing 'X Factor' talent, who are you saddest to see go?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Paula Abdul
    75%
    614 votes
    Nicole Scherzinger
    17%
    138 votes
    Steve Jones
    8%
    66 votes
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