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Paula Abdul: 'X Factor' Exit Confirmed

Paula Abdul has confirmed that she is leaving The X Factor.

“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,” Paula said in a statement.

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,” Paula concluded.

Also leaving the show are host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger.

WHO DO YOU THINK should replace those who have left the show?

Who Won 'The X Factor' U.S.?

The winner of The X Factor‘s first stateside season was announced on Thursday night (December 22).

Finalists Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, and Melanie Amaro sang their hearts out for a $5 million contract, a Super Bowl commercial, and the title of winner!

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of the cast of The X Factor

But who won The X Factor U.S.? Click inside to find out – spoilers ahead!!

More Here! »

Photos of 'The X Factor'

'The X Factor' Cast Covers The Hollywood Reporter

X Factor stars Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, L.A. Reid, and Steve Jones cover the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Here’s what the stars had to share:

Simon, on what he’s looking for: “Buzz. In England, you genuinely get the feeling the whole country is talking about the show. I hope for that.”

Simon, on saying he’d hire ousted judge Cheryl Cole again: “[I]n a heartbeat – you’re not drowning puppies here. You’re offering someone who’s got millions of dollars more money and more work. And if people think that’s cruel, then they can do that to me on a daily basis. I’ll take it twice a day.”

L.A., on Randy Jackson comparisons: “Yeah, I had those conversations where I’m the black guy with the bald head. I’ve heard all those comments: ‘If they’re gonna use Randy, why didn’t they just get Randy?’ “That’s just how people think, but who cares? I love Randy. He’s been doing this successfully for 11 years. Comparing me to him is certainly not an insult.”

For more from the X Factor cast, visit HollywoodReporter.com!

Bigger cover pic inside…

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Cheryl Cole Sends Flowers to Paula Abdul

'X Factor' Judges Talk Cheryl Cole's Exit

Nicole Scherzinger & Paula Abdul: X Factor in New Jersey!

Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul arrive to judge X Factor auditions held on Thursday (June 9) at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

The 32-year-old entertainer was named a judge earlier in the week. Nicole was originally slated to co-host the show with Steve Jones, but instead, she’ll replace Cheryl Cole on the judging panel.

Also pictured inside arriving for auditions is record executive and fellow X Factor judge L.A. Reid!

Simon Cowell rounds out the judging panel.

10+ pictures inside of the X Factor judges arriving for auditions in New Jersey…

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Simon Cowell Talks Cheryl Cole's X Factor Exit

Simon Cowell is setting the record straight about Cheryl Cole‘s departure from The X Factor.

The 51-year-old music exec and X Factor judge told the AP that Cheryl‘s exit wasn’t due to a lack of chemistry – he just felt she would be happier back home in England.

“I hate seeing her hurt. She’s one of — I hope — she’s one of my closest friends, and this was a decision we made which we thought would be beneficial to her, funny enough. Not many people will believe that, but that’s the truth,” Simon said.

“She was good on the American show,” Simon added. “I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked a little bit, I wouldn’t say uncomfortable, but just not as happy as I’ve seen her on previous shows.”

Simon also said that he contacted Cheryl and took full responsibility for the decision. “She told me she wasn’t happy but that she also accepted it was a business decision and she wished the show well. Typically, in Cheryl form, she was disappointed but charming at the same time,” he explained.

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