British X Factor judges, be warned: when Simon Cowell says he’s going to shake up one of his shows, he means it.
The talent show super-producer, who has admitted that the US and UK versions of The X Factor were disappointing last year, has begun his revamp of the franchise by axing judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones from the American show.
The programme’s American broadcaster, Fox, last night confirmed the decisions – thought to have been taken at a crisis meeting of Cowell and his close associates held in Britain yesterday.
Fellow judge Paula Abdul is also very strongly rumoured to be on her way out.
“I won’t be hosting next season’s X Factor which is a shame, but I can’t complain as I’ve had a great time,” Jones said, confirming the news via Twitter. “Good luck to everyone on the show.”
The American version of The X Factor debuted last year to reasonable ratings – enough for the show to be recommissioned, but nowhere near the numbers Cowell had confidently predicted.
Still way ahead of the US X Factor is American Idol, whose celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, and host Ryan Seacrest, were generally seen as much superior to the X Factor season one roster.
In particular, Scherzinger, Jones and Abdul were at the centre of controversy when 13-year-old Rachel Crow broke down in tears on stage having been eliminated. Jones handled the ensuing chaos poorly, while Abdul and Scherzinger were seen as instrumental in voting Crow off.