The X Factor is officially missing two of its key personalities: artist mentor Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones. (UPDATE: Paula Abdul will also leave). Scherzinger, the one-time Pussycat Doll and unsurprising Dancing With The Stars winner, has decided to sidestep the show, E! reports, in order to focus on her recording career (which apparently includes a new will.i.am song). Jones, for his part, announced his exit via tweet, saying he “had a great time.” So much for the rumor that Scherzinger would replace Jones on the show — they’re both out. What happened? Details below.
Scherzinger, who managed to use her appearance on the show to unveil her new song “Pretty”, had seemed like something of an odd fit on the show, ever since she replaced judge Cheryl Cole in an acrimonious last-minute shakeup after production began. Indeed, the role of full-time TV mentor even seemed to catch her off-guard: ”X Factor took a lot more of her time than she ever expected,” an insider told E!. “She didn’t have any time really to work on her music. She was doing X Factor six days a week.” Perhaps now she’ll have time to finish up that long-delayed album and scratch herself off our list of 2011′s biggest fails.
As for Jones, he had been unfavorably compared to longtime American Idol host and radio veteran Ryan Seacrest, and his departure is somewhat less surprising. MTV noted that Fox TV boss Kevin Reilly even seemed to allude to a possible Jones exit earlier this month when he told TV reporters:
“I think everyone has come to realize the value of a Ryan Seacrest… If you dialed the clock back 11 years, I’m not sure everybody in this room would have given him all the credit at that time. Those are very hard jobs to do. So whether Steve’s the guy or not, it comes under the heading of ‘growth’ in general.”
The funny thing is, Jones may be perfectly content to be out of a job at the same time as Scherzinger. He told Metro UK last year that, “If I ever leave X Factor, Scherzinger’s phone will be smoking hot from me ringing it constantly… If we are not colleagues, then she’s fair game.”