Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger X-Out in X Factor Bloodbath 1Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger are paying the price for a less-than-stellar inaugural season for Simon Cowell’s U.S. version of “X-Factor,” the widely popular UK music talent show.

X-Factor host Steve Jones is also out, but that comes as no surprise given his spotty performance during Season One. Cowell’s show stumbled in its premiere season, with controversy over judges and Jones widely panned by critics.

While a shakeup was expected, the departure of Scherzinger, and more so Abdul, came as a shock. Cowell went out of his way to recruit Abdul. Is she making big salary demands again?

The show follows a slightly different format than “American Idol.” The judges must also mentor contestants.

Abdul just couldn’t get a handle on mentoring the groups. She was the first judge to see all of her contestants wash out on season 1, according to, which broke the news of her departure. Scherzinger was roundly criticized after Crow’s elimination.

Record producer L.A. Reid appears to be safe, and Cowell, of course, is holding onto his judge’s seat. The search for new judges will at least generated needed publicity for the show.

A rep for Cowell played down the shakeup. “This happens after every show or series,” he said. “No decisions have been made that I am aware of.”

Rival “American Idol,” also on Fox is off to a strong start this season. Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson have gelled, with solid on-air chemistry. The show’s contestants have also been strong.

Cowell will definitely have to up his game if he intends on competing with his old show.