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Bad news for fans of good looking but awkward British TV hosts. Steve Jones is officially out as the host of the The X Factor.

And if you have a penchant for word garbling, slightly deranged female judges there’s more bad news – Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul have also been shown the door too!

Wow, what a day, as Simon Cowell and the Fox network cleaned house on last year’s semi-successful X Factor debut.

Let’s be honest – we all knew Jones was on the way out. The Welsh host was so utterly hopeless in his role – stiff, awkward, unfriendly and generally just way out of his depth – it was obvious from the first few episodes that his days were numbered.

And Scherzinger was also a likely casualty. Though she started off okay, Nicole grew more histrionic and waffling as the show progressed. Plus not only was here judging sub-par, but her mentoring skills were terrible too. You could see Scherzinger’s contestants’ distress when they knew they’d been paired with the most inexperienced and hopeless judge on the panel. Just look what she did with Stacy Francis – saddling the budding diva with the one-two punch of Whitney’s Queen Of The Night and Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now! Even a cruise ship would have turned down performances like these…

But the departure of Paula Abdul is somewhat of a surprise. Obviously she and Simon go back a LONG way – and Abdul was also the second most famous person on the show. The X Factor season 1 was heavily promoted on the renewed chemistry between Simon and Paula. And to be fair, Paula did a decent job with what she was given – the Groups – by far the weakest category of the first season.

Still it looks like Fox want a total clean sweep for Season 2. So only Cowell and L.A. Reid are staying. But will this help – or hurt – the show?

Well first the bad news. By turfing out so many members of the X Factor Season 1 team Fox does run the risk of looking desperate. It’s as though they’re admitting that Season 1 wasn’t very good and a bit of a failure. Plus, since it’s likely that Scherzinger and Abdul’s replacements are likely to be A-list singers – the show could end up looking like a copycat of The Voice, which got its casting right from the get go.

On the flipside, I do think that getting all of the ‘bad news’ out of the way now was a good move on the part of Fox. Now the show can really concentrate on fixing its panel and emerging stronger in the Fall.

It’s already been widely speculated that Mariah Carey will join the X Factor panel and I’d expect an announcement any day now to bandage over these fresh wounds. I’m not a huge fan of Mariah the person (who is as nightmarish as you’ve been led to believe) – but no one can knock her credentials. She knows music and vocals and would bring an A-list wattage that Paula and Nicola could only dream off. Securing Mariah on the panel would be a big ‘get’ by The X Factor and instantly transform the show.

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So who fills the 4th slot? I’ve said all along that I think the 2nd female judge should be someone who’s feisty and in it to win (which Scherzinger and Abdul never really were). Pink has long been my favorite choice for this role – she’d more than hold her own alongside Cowell and has smarts and taste. But I don’t think she’s do it as her career is in such good shape. But how about Kelly Clarkson – who obviously made her name on a talent show, much like former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole did? Or how about bringing Brit X Factor judge Kelly Rowland over, who did a solid job on the show’s UK version last year? Whoever Fox end up choosing can really only be an improvement on last year’s panel, where only L.A. and Cowell seemed to be playing the game.

The biggest challenge for The X Factor is going to be overcoming the idea that it’s a bit of a second run series. With The Voice expected to roar back triumphantly, especially given its post-Superbowl slot, and American Idol now in decline, Fox really need The X Factor season 2 to perform better than its predecessor in the ratings. But will viewers be willing to give The X Factor a second look? And frankly why didn’t the show get its act together in season 1?

But what do you think? What do you make of the departures of Steve, Nicole and Paula? And who would you like to see fill the remaining slots on the panel? Comment away..