LOS ANGELES, CA - FILE: Judge Paula Abdul poses at...

LOS ANGELES, CA - FILE: Judge Paula Abdul poses at Fox Television's "The X Factor" Season Finale at CBS Televison City on December 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Steve Jones will not be returning for another season of "The X Factor" according to reports on January 31, 2011. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images) Credit: Getty/Mark Davis

In a more-than-obvious sign that Fox and Simon Cowell were more than unhappy with the so-so ratings of “The X Factor's” first season, both host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger will not be returning, as Fox confirmed last night.

But now, almost certainly this, too: Paula Abdul is out. and not the world's biggest surprise either.

Paula's lacrimose tearful act didn't quite jell on “Factor,“ especially when held in contrast with the kinder/gentler Cowell. Moreover, she was seen as complicit in the Rachel Crow fiasco - that instance where Nicole refused to vote on keeping the 13-year-old and instead threw the vote to the public. (Which of course  begs the question: why even have a judge at all if you're not saving a favorite?) Always follow the money, too: Paula is a big ticket on a show that probably didn't fully pay her way the first season. Perhaps Fox is saying: Clean house and get your finances in order. 

Here's Paula's statement confirming the exit: 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.”

And here's Simon Cowell's statement: "I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of The X Factor last year. We had a lot of fun making the show together and importantly, we found some real talent and stars. You do develop friendships with the people you work with and Paula, in particular, is a very close friend and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future. I'm sure all three are going to have massive success in what they do next , but now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year."

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