It appears that Simon Cowell has been wielding his axe of late as he has ended the contracts of not one, not two but three of the stars from the US X Factor. First to go was Steve Jones, the Welsh heart throb over here did not fare so well over there. He became known as a little ‘cold’ when the youngest contestant, Rachel Crow, who was eliminated from the show broke down in tears and Steve was not quick enough to console her. It was left to Simon himself to jump up from the judges row and dry her tears, Steve was left as a spare peg with nothing to do. And Jones came under increasing fire for his handling of other eliminated contestants as the exits became ever more emotional and he did not. So although his demise had been rumoured for a while, his future as the host of “The X Factor” was made definite when the Brit tweeted on Monday, quite politely, that he will not be returning for Season 2. The rumours of him leaving the show started back in December at the Television Critics Association press tour earlier in January 2012. Kevin Reilly, head of Fox Entertainment, said, “Whether Steve’s the guy or not, it comes under the heading of growth in general, so there will be some tweaks to the show.” Reilly continued, “Hosting, as we know, it is a much harder job than meets the eye. I think everybody now has come to realize the value of Ryan Seacrest.” Cowell made his feelings clear in an interview with the Daily Mirrow on Monday, “I don’t think he did a bad job but, like ‘America’s Got Talent,’ there is a Brit limit on the show.”
Next to face the chop was Nicole Scherzinger who apparently wants to ‘focus on her music career’. A source close to the singer said, “She’s spoken to Simon [Cowell] and he’s given her his blessing … ‘X Factor’ took a lot more of her time than she ever expected. She didn’t have any time really to work on her music. She was doing ‘X Factor’ six days a week.” One reason could also be that Scherzinger faced death threats after she and Paula Abdul voted to send finalist Drew Ryniewicz home. Scherzinger also let the decision of number one favourite Rachel Crow be left in the hands of the public vote. Crow was subsequently sent home as the US public voted the 13 year old off.
And now we come to Paula Abdul who has been at Simon’s side for more years than we may care to remember in many different guises. She confirmed her departure today saying, “Yes, it’s true; I won’t be returning to The X Factor next season. 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 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. 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.”
So the only remaining members now are Cowell himself and L.A Reid. Cowell has confirmed that he wants a ‘bigger celebrity’ for the judging panel on the next season of the X Factor but why all the bloodshed? It seems that not all Cowell touches turns to TV gold and perhaps Cowell himself was partly to blame as he set himself some extraordinary high standards. He anticipated a viewing public of over 20 million when in fact, the X Factor hit only around 12 million at best. And with all the money thrown at it, making it probably one of the most expensive productions on American TV last year, it could be seen as a very costly mistake. Another mistake was the sacking, midway through the season, of Cheryl Cole, which brings us to our next question: Will he bring her back? As their relationship has now thawed and they are back on speaking terms, the job is firmly within Cheryl’s grasp. But will she take it? The American public did like her and found her to be an honest and warm judge; down to earth and despite the feedback here in the UK, they could understand her Geordie accent. So will she go back? Watch this space!