Paula Abdul has confirmed that she will not resume her job as a co-judge on the FOX series "The X Factor," while Steve Jones and Nicole Scherzinger have also left in a series shake-up made after lackluster ratings.
"Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to 'The X Factor' next season," the 49-year-old said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com on Tuesday, January 31. "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 Cowell had launched a U.S. version of the singing contest show last year, following the success of its British counterpart and after leaving his longtime job on "American Idol," FOX's breakout series that recently began its 11th season and also featured Abdul as one of his co-judges. The two served on the panel with Scherzinger, formerly of the group The Pussycat Dolls, and record executive L.A Reid.
"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," Abdul added in her statement. "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."
Jones, a British television personality who had served as a host on "The X Factor," announced his departure from the U.S. show in a Twitter message on Monday, saying: "I won't be hosting next seasons X Factor which is a shame but I can't complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."
The series, which aired on Wednesday and Thursdays, often earned the highest ratings in its its time slot but also occasionally lost to the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory." It also did not fetch the same ratings as "American Idol," one of the most popular primetime shows.
Deadline.com had on Monday reported that a "Simon Cowell insider" said Abdul won't be returning as an 'X Factor' judge next season." Scherzinger's departure was also reported that day and E! Online said she now plans to concentrate on her musical career. Scherzinger Tweeted on Tuesday: "I wanted to let you know directly from me that it's true I won't be returning to 'The X Factor.'"
The pop singer, who plans to tour Europe in February, and Abdul and Jones did not leave the series on their own accord, according to Deadline.com. Representatives for Cowell and the network had no immediate comment.
SIMON COWELL EXPECTS TO WORK WITH PAULA ABDUL AGAIN
Cowell said in a statement on Tuesday, carried by outlets such as USA Today: "I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of 'The X Factor' last year. We had a lot of fun making the show together and importantly, we found some real talent and stars."
"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 added. "I'm sure all three are going to have massive success in what they do next, but now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year."
Abdul and Cowell served as two of the original judges on "American Idol," alongside Randy Jackson, who still remains on the series. Abdul left "American Idol" in 2009 and later launched her own talent series, "Live To Dance," on CBS. It was canceled after one season following lackluster ratings.
Cowell left in 2010 to concentrate on launching "The X Factor" in the United States. "American Idol" then underwent its own series shake-up, replacing Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi with new judges Steven Tyler, singer of the popular rock band Aerosmith, and actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, to try to boost viewership. Cowell later brought Abdul on board as a judge on "The X Factor."
The new U.S. series had seen the shuffling of cast members even before its debut on Sept. 21, 2011. During early tapings, UK pop singer Cheryl Cole, who sports a thick, northern English accent, had served a judge but later departed the show. Scherzinger, who was previously named as a co-host alongside Jones, was later made a judge in Cole's place.
Cowell and Abdul have often exchanged friendly and flirty jabs on screen and even participated in a sexy love montage video that aired on "American Idol."
Cowell told Deadline.com in April 2011 that he had missed her and "always loved working with her, even though she can be a pain."
He also joked in an interview with People magazine in August 2011, when asked about reuniting with Abdul on "The X Factor": "It's like owning a dog and the dog will only sit next to its master. It's comfortable. If she's away from me, she pines. She's unhappy. She has to sit next to me."
'AMERICAN IDOL' Vs. 'THE X FACTOR'
It was announced in November that "The X Factor" was renewed for a second season on FOX.
The show is similar to that of "American Idol" with several exceptions. For example, in "The X Factor," singing groups, not just individuals, can compete. Contestants are eventually put in groups and mentored by one of the judges.
In a controversial episode, Scherzinger was seen crying as she issued a deciding vote to eliminate fan-favorite contestant Rachel Crow, whose mentor was Cowell. Abdul had mentored contestants who had performed in groups. None of them made the top three.
The show was won by Melanie Amaro, who was mentored by Cowell. She was given a record contract and an additional $5 million cash prize - the largest in television history.
The Hollywood Reporter said on Tuesday that according to a "show insider," Abdul, another "American Idol" alum, was seen as "irrelevant to the mix" and that Cowell is carrying out talks to find out "what went wrong and what was done right on season 1."
"The X Factor" premiere was watched by about 12.5 million people and earned a 4.4 rating among adults aged 18 to 49. About 12.4 million viewers watched the December 23 finale, which earned a 3.8 rating.
The finale of the previous 10th season of "American Idol" was watched by 29.2 million people and earned a rating of 9.2 among adults aged 18 to 49. The season's premiere garnered 21.6 million viewers and a 7.2 rating, marking the lowest ratings for a first episode of the show since its 2002 debut.
Meanwhile, Cowell is also planning to launch yet another talent contest reality show. This time, it will focus on DJs. He is developing the series with actress Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of Will Smith and mother of singers Jaden and "Whip My Hair" star Willow.
"Excited to announce new DJ show," Cowell Tweeted on January 25. "I will NOT be judging this show. Excited to be working with @jadapsmith . Stay tuned!"