The results are in, and three members of Simon Cowell's The X Factor have been eliminated. Host Steve Jones and judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger will not be returning to the Fox reality competition next fall.
News of the ousters first broke on Jan. 30 when Jones Tweeted, "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." A few hours later, Scherzinger's exit was confirmed by Fox, followed by confirmation of Abdul's departure the next day.
TV Guide Magazine caught up with two of Scherzinger's Over-30 finalists — LeRoy Bell and runner-up Josh Krajcik — to get their reactions to the eliminations. "I always felt like Nicole's time there wasn't going to be that long, only because she was trying to pursue her own recording career," says Bell. "I figured it might be temporary." In fact, when asked about her future as an X Factor judge in December, Scherzinger told TV Guide Magazine, "I'm an artist and I'm usually the one on stage."
"I'm a little shocked," agrees Krajcik. "I'm a little surprised that Paula left. At least with Nicole, I kind of knew that she wanted more time for her music career."
Both singers say they did not witness any friction between the former judges and producers firsthand, and even though Scherzinger's priorities may have been with her own career, she still made time for her contestants. "She was around enough to help, but not around for much to hinder," says Krajcik. "There was a good balance with Nicole."
Reports speculate that Cowell is searching for a big name to fill the judging vacancies, such as Mariah Carey or Beyonce. Krajcik agrees that a powerhouse artist would be a great addition. "One of the things I love about The X Factor is it's truly about artistry, but it really boils down to vocals. Having somebody with great vocal ability and [the knowledge] of what it takes to be a successful artist would be awesome for future contestants."
There's also speculation that Cowell will shake up the format. "I think they ought to revamp it — the mentors and the judges should be different," says Bell. Even as a judge, "the mentor's always going to be on [his or her] contestant's side. It's a conflict of interest."
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