The axe -- or is that the 'X' -- fell at 'X Factor' yesterday (Jan. 31), with judge Nicole Scherzinger being fired, along with host Steve Jones. Sources indicate that judge Paula Abdul was also cut. Word is producers and Simon Cowell were looking to make a fresh start for the show, whose ratings fell below expectations on Season 1.

Jones was the first to go, tweeting the news of his exit. The host, who was criticized for interrupting the judges on elimination episodes, was gracious about the news. He posted: "I wont be hosting next seasons XFactor which is a shame but I cant complain as I've had a great time. Good luck to everyone on the show."

Scherzinger was the next to go, with a source telling E! that it was her decision to move on. "She wants to focus on her music career," the source said. "She's spoken to Simon [Cowell] and he's given her his blessing. 'X Factor took' a lot more of her time than she ever expected. She didn't have any time really to work on her music. She was doing' X Factor' six days a week." Scherzinger, who was slammed for being an indecisive judge, was initially supposed to be a co-host along with Jones, but she then moved to the judge's table when Cheryl Cole got the boot. Clearly, the show has been fraught with production drama since day one!

The Wrap also reported that Abdul was out, but we're still awaiting final confirmation of her exit.

Sources also told The Wrap that execs at the show "expected Paula to be the goofy girl, and Nicole to be the pretty one. But Paula was so bad that it made none of it work." The Wrap also reported that all three were fired and did not leave by their own choice.

The show had respectable but not blockbuster ratings in its debut season. Perhaps the bloodbath is meant to shake things up and add some excitement for Season 2. Does this mean Mariah Carey will finally make her way onto the show, which was a hot rumor last year?

Stay tuned.

More From PopCrush