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Paula Abdul fired from ‘The X Factor’ because she was too ‘soft’

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Updated: March 2, 2012 8:17AM



W hile the firing of “The X Factor” host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger was long expected, Hollywood was stunned by the news that Paula Abdul also was axed in a major shakeup of the music competition show — being called a “bloodbath” by show insiders.

Speaking of being stunned? That included Abdul, who is said to be furious about her ouster — despite issuing a statement Tuesday saying she understood “how business decisions oftentimes override personal considerations.”

Those “business decisions” included a careful analysis of the first season of “The X Factor” by show producers and the Fox network — whose research indicated Abdul was thought too “soft” to compete with the other judges and the audience “just did not connect with Nicole,” said a major Fox source.

Though both show creator

Simon Cowell (who will remain as a judge with L.A. Reid) and Abdul went out of their way to indicate they remain close, sources on “The X Factor” contradict that.

The parting was “anything but amicable and there were a lot of angry words,” said a key show staff member. “I know Simon and Paula say they’re still friends, and Simon’s claiming he and Paula will again work together, but there will have to be some time for that [rift] to heal after what went down the past few days.”

Another “X” staffer said that “while Steve knew he wasn’t coming back [and] realized that sadly he just didn’t connect with the U.S. audience — everyone was stunned that Nicole thought she’d be back for the second season.

“On top of being an impossible diva to work with, so many fans really hated her — especially after her vote led to [popular young contestant] Rachel Crow being eliminated.”

Realizing how Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have added superstar power to his old “American Idol” show, Cowell reportedly is courting major music stars such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey as potential judges for the sophomore season of “The X Factor.”

WHAT’S THE STORY? The rumors about Rumer Willis have been running rampant in L.A. ever since her mom, Demi Moore, collapsed and was rushed to the hospital.

Now being treated for exhaustion and possibly eating disorders and other health problems, Moore was said to have been with her daughter while inhaling nitrous oxide — known as the quick-high “Whip It” drug by kids on the club scene. Willis has been dodging the press and continuing to avoid any and all questions about her mom, except to offer very vague “she’s doing better” comments when cornered.

CORPORATE STRATEGY: Bain Capital has been in the news a lot lately due to Mitt Romney’s ongoing relationship with the investment firm he formerly ran. Now there’s an entertainment world hook: Bain and another investment firm have taken a minority stake in Ryan Seacrest’s holding company — snaring a piece of the Seacrest-produced reality empire that includes “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and other shows.

FILM FROLICS: While at the Sundance Film Festival, Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended the final screening of “Chasing Ice,” which won the festival’s cinematography award. Attendees quipped that if an Emanuel attended Sundance, it more likely would be the Rahmster’s brother, Hollywood mega-agent Ari Emanuel!

The mayor chatted with “Chasing Ice” director Jeff Orlowski, noted National Geographic photographer and the film’s star James Balog, and producer Paula DuPre Pesmen — whose “The Cove” won the 2010 Oscar for best feature documentary. Pesmen, married to Chicago native and author Curtis Pesmen, also worked here on “Home Alone 2” with director Chris Columbus.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Bill Marovitz organized a “boys night out” for a bunch of fellow baseball-loving buddies the other night — with Arny Granat, Steve Traxler, Jimmy Rittenberg, Bill Hogan and “About Last Night” producer Jason Brett all checking out the “Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting” play about Jackie Robinson at Lookingglass, followed by a Bar Toma dinner. To honor Robinson, Marovitz provided all with Brooklyn Dodgers replica caps, which they wore throughout the performance. … “Glee” mainstay Jane Lynch, one of Dolton’s fave daughters, made a return trip Tuesday to Prasino LaGrange — only two weeks after her last visit. … The Yankees’ Curtis Granderson made the scene at Board Room, as did Jeremy Piven — who also slipped into Studio Paris while back in town.



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