Paula Abdul caught in shakeup at Simon Cowell's 'X Factor'
Monday was pink slip day at "The X Factor," with Paula Abdul apparently the latest to get sent packing.
In a major housecleaning, creator and lead judge Simon Cowell decided to boot half the judging quartet from Fox's singing show, which returns for Season 2 this fall. Nicole Scherzinger was likewise shown the door (Fox confirmed Scherzinger's exit but not, for some reason, Abdul's, even after it was reported by multiple media outlets; neither Cowell nor a rep replied to messages Monday night).
Host Steve Jones was also told his services would no longer be needed. Presumably the only two on-camera personalities returning will be Cowell and fellow judge and music mogul L.A. Reid.
In some ways, the departures are not a surprise. The singing groups mentored by Abdul were eliminated in short order on last fall's shows, a result that irked Cowell. Scherzinger's contestants -- all over 30 -- fared better, but Cowell openly questioned the pop singer's mentoring skills and ridiculed her judging comments as empty. As host, Jones often appeared tense and was reduced to imploring the judges to make up their minds when time ran short.
Even so, the swiftness of the shakeup came as a major surprise, especially considering the tortuous back and forth over Cheryl Cole's seat at the judging table last year. But one insider said Cowell was shaken by the show's relatively cool ratings reception last fall -- before the premiere, he said "X Factor" could be bigger than "American Idol," his former employer -- and over the season came to believe that big changes were needed.
Who do you think should replace Abdul, Scherzinger and Jones?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: From left, L.A. Reid Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on "The X Factor." Credit: Ray Mickshaw / Fox