As expected, changes are beginning to break for the second season of FOX’s “The X Factor,” starting with Steve Jones’ announcement that he won’t be returning as host next fall, followed quickly by Nicole Scherzinger’s formal exit.
The news began breaking, as news frequently breaks these days, on Jones’ verified Twitter page on Monday (January 30) afternoon.
Jones tweeted, “I wont be hosting next seasons XFactor which is a shame but I cant complain as I’ve had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show.”
Sources at FOX promptly confirmed Jones’ tweet to HitFix.
Jones’ exit was promptly followed by buzz that Scherzinger wouldn’t be returning for a second “X Factor” season as judge-and-mentor. First reported by EOnline, that departure was also confirmed by FOX.
The hasty one-two punch of “X Factor” x-ings didn’t come as a particularly big shock.
Asked about potential changes to “X Factor” at the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this month, FOX’s Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said, “[I]t’s a show that’s returning that people loved. It inhabits its own space. The mechanics, and there’s an awful lot of similarities to ‘Idol’ and other, you know, imitators, but it’s its own show. It’s its own energy. It’s its own spectacle. And I loved it. I will tell you, there are things Simon [Cowell] is going to do. If it did twice the rating, he would still change it. He’s relentless in that way. So there are changes. I can tell you I have no idea what they are going to be.”
Whenever potential changes were speculated upon during the season, Jones and judge Scherzinger were the “X Factor” principles considered most likely to move on.
The 34-year-old Welsh TV presenter was an unknown to American audiences and came onto “X Factor” as a co-host with Scherzinger, only to take the hosting duties solo when Cheryl Cole departed the series early in auditions. During the season, Jones sometimes seemed to struggle with keeping the show running on schedule, while also interacting constructively with both the judges and the contestants. For her part, Scherzinger seemed uncomfortable doling out criticism and was at the center of the season’s most awkward elimination when her refusal to make a judging call led to the elimination of Rachel Crow and several minutes of awkward live crying.
Post-Season 1 hosting changes aren’t uncommon on Simon Cowell’s American singing competition shows. Jones joins the illustrious ranks of Brian Dunkleman, who left “American Idol” after its original summer run. Of course, “American Idol” had Ryan Seacrest already on-board and ready to assume hosting duties, while “X Factor” will have to make a decision on a new host relatively soon.