Paula Abdul Confirms Exit from 'X Factor'

Joins Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones in leaving Fox series
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Paula Abdul confirmed Tuesday that she will not return as a judge for season two of The X Factor.

"Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to The X Factor next season," she said in a statement. "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."

On Monday Fox confirmed that fellow judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones would also not return next season, leaving only creator Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid on the judging panel from season one.

X Factor producers had been hinting in recent weeks that changes were coming to the singing competitions series that did much to improve Fox's fall ratings but suffered from comparisons to American Idol. At NATPE last week, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America, which produces The X Factor, told B&C Executive Editor Melissa Grego in an interview that the show's creative team was heading to London for two days of meetings to examine every aspect of the show, including casting.

Fox released the following statement shortly after Abdul confirmed her exit on Tuesday:

"We love Paula. She is a remarkable talent and we appreciate all of her contributions," said Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment at Fox. "We're lucky that she is a part of the Fox family, and we look forward to working with her again soon."

"On
behalf of everyone at FremantleMedia, I'd like to thank Paula, Nicole
and Steve for all of
their contributions launching the first season of The X Factor and
helping to discover some extraordinary talent," said Frot-Coutaz in her own statement. "It was truly a pleasure working with
each of them and in particular, reuniting with
Paula once again. We sincerely wish them all the best."

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