For any "X Factor" fans who are thinking season two of the Simon Cowell-created singing competition will be business as usual, think again, because Monday (January 30) marked a veritable bloodletting of the show's key talent and judging panel.
In addition to the losses of [article id="1678186"]mentor Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones[/article], original "American Idol" diva and delightfully unpredictable judge Paula Abdul will also not be returning to the program. A source close to Cowell told Deadline.com that all three personalities were asked to leave the show.
"None of the three left on their own accord," Deadline editor Nikki Finke wrote of what her insider source told her of the mass exodus. "It was cleaning house day at the so-so rated show."
Despite their frequent onscreen bickering and banter, Cowell spoke highly of Abdul when it was announced that she would be joining him on "X Factor." "I missed her the second she left ['Idol']," Cowell told Deadline last year. "Always loved working with her even though she can be a pain. I don't know what it is about her, but I've always clicked with her. You just have to get that chemistry, and she's right. I've never found anyone better than her."
Former Pussycat Doll and "Dancing With the Stars" champ Scherzinger was also sent packing, although a source close to Scherzinger told E! News that she left the show to focus on her music career. "She's spoken to Simon [Cowell], and he's given her his blessing," the insider told E! Scherzinger often became emotional during elimination episodes, shedding tears and expressing sympathy for ousted contestants.
As for inaugural "X Factor" host Jones, the cheeky Welshman broke the news himself via Twitter on Monday. "I won't be hosting next seasons X Factor which is a shame but I cant complain as I've had a great time," Jones tweeted to his more than 94,000 followers. "Good luck to everyone on the show."
Jones had decidedly big shoes to fill stepping into the gig, with comparisons instantly made to "American Idol" host/ media mogul Ryan Seacrest. Throughout the season, the reviews of Jones' hosting skills were decidedly mixed.
As far as we know, L.A. Reid will continue to work alongside Cowell on the judging panel. There has been no word yet from Fox on who might replace Abdul, Scherzinger and Jones, or when season two will premiere.
Who do you think should join "X Factor"? Share your ideas in the comments!