As speculated yesterday, both Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger are out of the X Factor USA, along with Steve Jones, the host. Confirmation of the changes comes straight from the horse's mouth, Simon Cowell himself.
While Nicole had already hinted, back in December, at the possibility of leaving the show to dedicate herself to her music career, the decision to fire Paula came as a surprise for all those who watched the first season.
After all, it was Simon who pursued Paula and got her to agree to be on the show, given the chemistry they shared in their American Idol days.
Paula says in a statement cited by TMZ that she knows for a fact their friendship will not be affected by his decision to let her go.
“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,” she says.
“Simon is, and will remain, a dear friend of mine and I’ve treasured my experience working this past season,” Paula adds.
In a separate statement to the same media outlet, Cowell too emphasizes that Paula remains his close friend – and he even hopes to work with her sometime in the future, on another project.
“I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of the X Factor last year. 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,” Cowell states.
The changes made for the second season of the show, which Cowell ported from the UK, where it's a massive hit, have been described in the press as a genuine bloodbath.
The first to go was Steve Jones, as we also informed you yesterday, who was (allegedly) deemed way in over his head and unable to face the challenges presented to him as host.
Today, Cowell and LA Reid are the only two judges left on the panel. No one knows who Simon might bring on board for season 2.