Paula Abdul, we can barely remember a time when you weren’t gently crushing people’s dreams on TV somewhere. Don’t make us go back to those dark days! Unfortunately, it’s official: Paula, fellow judge Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones will not be returning for The X-Factor‘s second season, leaving Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid as the only returning castmembers. “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,” Abdul said as part of a statement this afternoon. Oh, how it hurts! Like they’re canceling Hey Paula all over again!
So who should take over for Paula and Nicole when it comes to dismissing mediocre 13-year-olds next fall? Luckily there were plenty of names thrown around last year as potential judges that we think would still be a perfect fit. All we need is the sweet, vaguely maternal judge (Mariah Carey, finally?), a judge who weeps uncontrollably (Jessica Simpson?) and an attractive if somewhat robotic British host (C-3PO?). While some of these options might seem like a pipe dreams (C-3P0 hasn’t worked in years), we wouldn’t be surprised if Simon managed to land some impressively big talent for the show. Who do you think should fill Paula and Nicole’s shoes on the show?