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SECOND UPDATE: X Factor host Steve Jones, judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul all reportedly axed from show

The American version of The X Factor had a fairly successful debut season, in terms of actual ratings for a brand new reality show. But in terms of its network's huge amount of pre-air hype, its suitability as the "next" American Idol, and creating "buzz," it was a flop. Even though you probably didn't watch the show, most years, you would have known the Idol winner via sheer media saturation, but it's incredibly likely you have basically no idea who the winner of X Factor was, nor could you name a single salient fact about them*.

Anyway, this means the retooling process has begun, and rather than question whether America really needs another singing competition, the questioning has begun with the show's host, Brit Steve Jones. Most often compared to a robot for his lack of emotion, remarkable efficiency at keeping the trains moving on time, and almost certain barely-suppressed desire to kill all humans, Jones has confirmed (via Tweet, no less) that he will join original Idol host Brian Dunkleman on the scrap heap of history by not returning to the series next year. Earlier in the day, executive producer and judge Simon Cowell praised Jones' work to the Daily Mirror but suggested there is a "Brit limit" to the show.


There's still no news on what this means for embattled judge Nicole Scherzinger (also heavily rumored to be the victim of "retooling") or who will replace Jones. Were we a betting website (and how could you ever suggest that we were?), we'd bet Jones would be replaced by his polar opposite, so probably somebody who cries a lot, lets the show run 30 minutes over, and gives out hug coupons for birthdays. Barring that, we hope Cowell gives Dunkleman a second chance.

* It was Melanie Amaro, who was most noted for initially being cut from the show during the winnowing down rounds, before Cowell realized the error of his ways and brought her back, thus creating a narrative that would all but ensure her victory. Who says these things aren't scripted?

UPDATE: Now, as reported by Entertainment Weekly and confirmed by Fox, Scherzinger has been tossed from the show as well, possibly because she was one of the worst reality show judges ever (in our TV Club reviewer Emily Yoshida's opinion). No news on who her replacement will be or even if there will be one. You can now return to not giving a shit about The X Factor.

SECOND UPDATE: It seems the sword of Damocles that dangles between Cowell's pectorals has also fallen on Paula Abdul. Although Fox and reps for the show have yet to offer an official confirmation, numerous sources are reporting that Abdul is also out—the result of a major "shake-up" that saw Cowell taking a hard look at why The X Factor failed to meet the ludicrously high bar he set for it, what with all of those arrogant interviews he gave where he said it would easily be the biggest show in the world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, also "nagging" Cowell were the repeated comparisons to American Idol, an image that certainly wasn't helped by having a nearly identical-looking panel of judges. With Abdul gone, that panel is now only one-half identical. The article also says Cowell is now looking for a "bigger celebrity" to join the group, so enjoy the next few weeks of speculation about that.


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