Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Photo: The X Factor Judges Pose in Front of a Helicopter

Embattled X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger has admitted she struggled on the show this season — and wouldn’t say definitively that she’d be back.

As contestants Chris Rene, Josh Krajcik, and Melanie Amaro sang their hearts out on Wednesday night’s performance finale, rumors were swirling that Nicole and host Steve Jones might be dumped from the show’s second season. And after Wednesday’s show, Nicole, her fellow judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and L.A. Reid addressed the gossip and talked about the future of The X Factor with reporters. 

Sources have alleged that Nicole might not return as an X Factor judge next season — or she might be asked to replace Steve as the host instead. And after the show on Wednesday, Nicole seemed to add fresh fuel to the rumors. When asked if she wanted to come back next season, Nicole didn’t answer the question — and instead told reporters how hard it was for her to judge the singers. “This has been quite a learning experience for me, quite a journey for me,” Nicole sighed. “I didn’t expect to have been so emotional through the whole elimination process. I wanted to just mentor and empower artists.” Nicole, who felt viewer wrath after she sent home fan favorite Rachel Crow, revealed having to eliminate X Factor contestants was devastating: “It’s new to me. I’m an artist first, not a judge first.” 

The Pussycat Dolls singer, who mentored Josh this season, said, “For me right now, I kept saying it, was getting Josh through this week and then next year for me, it’s about my music. I finally have my album coming out in America, I’m so proud of it.  I feel very strong.” She was thrilled to perform on last week’s X Factor, saying, “I felt so much love last week; it’s just a great time for me. I sang ‘Pretty.’  Baby Face wrote it for me and it’s just a little glimpse of what I have coming out next year, which is some powerful music.”

When asked if this new music would prevent her from coming back to X Factor, however, Nicole cooed, cryptically, “I could do both, honey. I wear many hats.”

Credit: Photo via foxflash.com Photo: Nicole Scherzinger's White Dress on The X Factor December 21, 2011

Meanwhile, when asked who would be the host next season, Simon Cowell joked to a couple of reporters, “I think it might be you two, Squiddly and Diddly.” 

But seriously, when pressed about what he thought of the entire X Factor team of judges and host, Simon said, “I think we’ve done good. When I compare this with the first time I did this in the UK, it wasn’t quite so good. But I always believed in the format.”

Simon said he would think about changes for next season because that’s “always” what he does on his shows: “I take a break, sit back, think.  All the team will come back over to the UK, the network, we actually do get the sponsors involved as well because I like their feedback. If everybody says it’s perfect, don’t change — if people think you need changes, you make changes.” 

Paula Abdul told reporters backstage about the gossip that Steve Jones might not be back, “people can say whatever they want and there’s no validity — because we’ve been working straight so I think all in all, everyone has done a great job.”

However, Paula conceded that with a new show, “It’s a learning curve.  It’s the first season. You do the best that you can. A lot of things really worked well and there are some things that need to be revamped and re-tweaked. I take into consideration that in order to grow you have to take in the good that worked great and the stuff that didn’t work so great and make it better. I listen to the public, to the fans, and when you do listen to them, there’s a lot of sense that they make and their ideas are ones we need to take advantage of listening to because I think they’ve got it right on. They say what they would like and we’re going to take it into consideration and re-work it. One of the most compelling things that have been coming with the fans is that they feel—they’re suggesting how the format should work differently. It’s not that things should be changed drastically but I think that they have a good idea about maybe make it more of an even playing field and one of their suggestions is that the judges would have to pick out of a hat like in a draft type of situation.  The judges pick out of a hat numbers one through four and maybe Simon gets the first draft pick of the groups and whoever is second, third, and fourth and each category we pick out of our own hat one through four.  There are also [fans] that feel like the production needs to be tamed and toned for certain performances.  I think overall, it was a great first season and there’s only room to grow.” 

 

 

Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Photo: LA Reid Kisses Paula Abdul at the Fox Fall Eco Casino Party in Los Angeles on September 12, 2011

The X Factor hasn’t yet lived up to American Idol, the show that made Simon and Paula household names. Comparing The X Factor to her experience on American Idol, Paula told Wetpaint Entertainment, “It’s a whole different kind of show. Getting involved in mentoring, you have your own personal connection with the talent that you’re working with so that opens up a whole new bag of situations because you’re emotionally connected whereas American Idol, you’re emotionally connected because you want them all to do well but you’re able to be a little bit more impartial and just base it on their performances.”

As for The X Factor, Paula’s fellow judge L.A. Reid doesn’t want any format changes at all. L.A. snapped, “The show’s a hit. Don’t fix something that’s not broken.”   

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