Everyone was shocked to learn that mentors Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as host Steve Jones were axed from Fox's The X Factor. But creator and mentor Simon Cowell, who confirms the dismissal of all three, wants everyone to know that these individuals are his close friends and that he has a tremendous amount of respect for them.
"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," Simon said in a statement. "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."
As for how Paula feels about her firing, she said, "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 [production company] 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," she added. "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."
Nicole has yet to release a statement regarding her dismissal, but Steve took to his Twitter last night to share his feelings on the situation.
"I won't be hosting next season's X Factor which is a shame but I can't complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."
Reportedly, Simon is looking into previously axed Cheryl Cole, as well as Mariah Carey or Victoria Beckham to join him and L.A. Reid as mentors. We'll have to wait and see what happens!