‘The X Factor’ cuts Steve Jones, Nicole Scherzinger … and Paula Abdul?

Shocked?

The producers behind “The X Factor” have obviously heard some of the complaints, whether it be that the host is too robotic, the judges make baffling decisions, or that the entire show feels a bit too much like an album full of synthesized music that the radio seems to play despite no one really liking it. With all of this in mind, the bigwigs behind the scenes have officially decided to flip the script and remove everyone not named Simon Cowell or L.A. Reid.

The first bit of news that came out Monday involved the exit of Steve Jones — a man who desperately wanted to be liked, but could never really get over the fact that grown men were screaming at him in an earpiece to shut up the judges. We do still think that Steve could have a great career in America (he already has one in Britain), but it’s more likely to come in a venue when he can control his discussions a little bit better and not be as blatantly self-conscious all the time.

Even with his strange pacer and even stranger one-liners (“hug me immediately!”), we still don’t blame Steve so much for the failures as much as the show for not giving him a role that did not allow him any creativity. He was originally supposed to co-host the show with Scherzinger, and perhaps that would have went better for both of them.

As for why we say this, it’s rather simple, Scherzinger bombed as a judge. Her critiques were only mediocre at best, but her bizarre tendency to keep Marcus Canty safe for several straight weeks during this competition led to sweeping criticism — in particular when she voted to keep him over Rachel Crow, a young girl that Nicole even admitted that she should have saved, but threw Marcus a vote since she thought America would vote him out via deadlock. (The audience later booed her offstage when Rachel left.) Nicole also was the master of self-promotion, to the point where it became an irritant.

As for Abdul (whose exit is being reported by Deadline and is still unconfirmed), this one is much more of a shock. Paula and Simon have a relationship that dates back to the beginning of “American Idol,” and Simon pulled some major strings to even get her on this show following the failure of Abdul’s “Live to Dance” experiment over on CBS. Paula is a popular figure in reality TV history, but performance-wise she had her ups and her downs. She was kind enough to vote to keep Rachel Crow, but she also was also notorious in slowing down the show with long-winded critiques and tended to overpraise.

What’s ultimately the most interesting aspect about this news is that none of the three reportedly left on their own right, and have been axed by producers looking for a change to boost ratings that fell short of Cowell’s own lofty expectations.

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Photo: Fox

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