Top 12 Headlines Of 2012: American Idol & The X Factor Judges Shakeups (#7)

They dished out compliments and critiques to contestants when “The X Factor” debuted in late 2011, but just weeks after the competition ended, it was judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger who were going home.

As continues to count down The Top 12 Headlines of 2012, we take a look at the first reality show judges’ panel shakeup of the year, which happened with “The X Factor” in January 2012.

After the ratings averaged around 12.6 million for the season (Simon previously told The Hollywood Reporter anything less than 20 million for the premiere would be a “disappointment”) heads rolled. It started with the show’s host – Welshman Steve Jones. Easy on the eyes, Steve’s accent proved hard for viewers to understand, and he was criticized when teen Rachel Crow collapsed to her knees, beside him on stage while he was delivering elimination results. jHe was cut first. Then, the axe fell on Pussycat Dolls frontwoman Nicole Scherzinger.

Days after she lost the judge gig, a still somewhat surprised Nicole spoke to Access, and reacted to the news, noting she gave “110 percent.” Watch her interview, HERE.

The big surprise, though, was the ousting of Paula Abdul. Simon told Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in January that she was eliminated from the judges’ panel because seeing the two together again didn’t help distinguish “X Factor” from the pair’s old show – “American Idol.”

Simon explains the choice to axe Nicole and Paula more, HERE!

Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, Mariah Carey, LeAnn Rimes and Janet Jackson were all names bandied about to fill the seats, but, at long last — in May — Demi Lovato and Britney Spears were confirmed for the judges’ chairs. Show hosts, Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez, were confirmed in October.

But, it wasn’t just “The X Factor” that had some big shakeups. “American Idol” also lost two judges. In July 2012, it was revealed that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, who had filled the seats for two seasons, were exiting the show.

Paula Abdul talks about the “Idol” judges shakeup, HERE.

It didn’t take long to find the first new judge on the panel – Mariah Carey confirmed she would be a part of Season 12 in late July via a FOX boss’ cell phone at a TV critics event. And, after much speculation and not-very-well-kept negotiations, Nicki Minaj and country star Keith Urban, officially signed on in September. Original “Idol” judge Randy Jackson, who had been rumored to be coming back only as a mentor, also revealed he would actually return to the bench.

Things got heated very quickly, though, when at an audition in Charlotte, N.C., Mariah and Nicki got into it, with the rapper taking aim at the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” singer. (She’s since taken on Steven Tyler in a brief war of words on Twitter, even going as far as to call the Aerosmith rocker a “racist.”)

Nicki addresses her rumored feud with Mariah, HERE.

Nicki and Mariah have smoothed things over in the press and fans can look forward to 2013, and the potential drama between the ladies in the live show.

“American Idol’s” Season 12 premieres on January 16 at 8/7c on FOX.

More from our Top 12 Headlines of 2012: #8 – Hollywood’s First-Time Parents In 2012, HERE!

(Later this week, our countdown continues with the #6 Headline of 2012, as we look at the stars who got engaged in 2012!)

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