X Factor’s First Season Was ‘an Audition,’ Says Fox

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger pose at The X Factor Press Conference at CBS Televison City on December 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images) Photo: Mark Davis/2011 Getty Images

After last week's X Factor shakeups, Fox is going on the offensive, saying that the first season of the show was "basically an audition act." At least that's what Mike Darnell, Fox's president of alternative (read: reality) entertainment, told EW. "Simon got one big new star out of it — L.A. Reid, and that was great casting," Darnell said, but after the initial outing, "there's going to be a natural reassessment." Once they decided that Paula Abdul was going to get the ax, along with Nicole Scherzinger and Steve Jones, "we decided to pull the Band-Aid off as quickly as possible." It'll only hurt for a second, Paula.