'X Factor' Exorcism: Paula Abdul & Nicole Scherzinger Out

The "X Factor" news came fast and furious on Monday night -- first, that host Steve Jones would not be returning, then that judge Nicole Scherzinger was exiting and finally that Paula Abdul also would be shown the door. Now The Hollywood Reporter has learned that all of these major show decisions are coming from one key confab being held in the U.K.

According to a show source, a series of X" Factor" season 2 offsite meetings are currently taking place wherein show creator Simon Cowell has assembled his team and creative brain-trust for a postmortem. The purpose: detailing what went wrong and what was done right on season 1 of the Fox singing competition.

Among the brash verdicts, says the source: that Abdul's role was seen as "irrelevant to the mix," in part through no fault of her own (as mentor to the groups, her contestants were picked off early in the competition).

Still, Abdul was not without her controversies on the show. Many blamed her for the dismissal of show favorite Rachel Crow, precipitated by advice Abdul gave to Scherzinger to let the decision be made by the public vote. America then sent the 13-year-old packing.

As for Jones and Scherzinger, another show insider says the "X Factor" host was notified by a show producer around 7:30pm on Monday evening that his option was not being picked up. (Cowell did not call Jones personally to deliver the news.) Soon after, Scherzinger was informed that her contract also would not be renewed. The host and judge did not receive an explanation for the decision, but a source close to the show says Cowell has decided that the show needs a bigger celebrity on the panel next season.

A source says LA Reid, the fourth judge on the "X Factor" panel, has not been informed of any change to his status as judge.

Representatives for Fox, Abdul and Fremantle have not responded to THR's request for confirmation of the shake-up on the show.

Peter Oberth
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