Confirmed! Paula Abdul Is Leaving 'The X Factor'

The singer confirms rumors that she won't be returning as a judge for season 2 of the show -- but insists that she and Simon Cowell remain friends

Was Paula Abdul caught in an X Factor hit and run? Abdul has now confirmed the rumors that began circulating this morning: She will not be returning as a judge for season 2 of the show -- and, according to reports, the choice wasn't hers.

"She was fired, but everything is amicable," a source tells People. "They had fun last season, but the show's evolved."

If Abdul was indeed fired, the 49-year-old singer/dancer/reality TV judge isn't taking the pink slip personally, and certainly isn't holding a grudge against her pal and co-judge (and the show's producer) Simon Cowell.

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

That situation, it seems, is the show's desire to reinvent itself in the wake of solid -- but a bit underwhelming -- season 1 ratings. As such, Fox has confirmed that host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger will also not be a part of The X Factor's second season.

The departure of those two comes as less of a shock than Abdul's parting of ways with the show, however -- after all, she's more of a marquee name and has been friends with Cowell since their American Idol days. (Heck, according to Cowell, they almost slept together.)

So what's the deal? Is Simon just a cold-hearted snake? Not if you ask Abdul.

"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," Abdul straight-up said in her statement. "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."

Apparently, Cowell feels the same way. "I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of The X Factor last year," Cowell said in his own statement Tuesday. "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."

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