UPDATED, 11:51 AM: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Fox all released separate statements this morning about yesterday’s big shakeup on the network’s singing competition show The X Factor. The housecleaning after a lackluster first season included the departures of Abdul, fellow judge Nicole Sherzinger and host Steve Jones, and none of them left on their own accord. Here’s the statement from Cowell, who pulled the trigger on the changes, including on close friend Abdul, whom he shared the judges table with for years on American Idol:
“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. 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.”
Like Cowell, Fox alternative president Mike Darnell also stressed in his statement the desire to work with Abdul again:
“We love Paula. She is a remarkable talent and we appreciate all of her contributions. We’re lucky that she is a part of the FOX family, and we look forward to working with her again soon.”
Earlier this morning, Abdul broke her silence on her departure:
“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 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.”
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