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'X Factor': Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul out. Who should be in?

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With this morning’s news that Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul, and Steve Jones will not be returning to The X Factor next season, it would appear the cheese (Simon Cowell) stands alone. Well, mostly alone. There’s still L.A. Reid, hanging on to his Pepsi cup like a barnacle on a cruise ship. The show is clearly undergoing a major overhaul, probably so Simon Cowell can clinch those 20 million viewers he boldly projected last fall… and that a Cowell-less Idol scored just last week. It got us thinking: Who should host and judge the next edition of X Factor. We pose some suggestions below…


Seacrest in? Too obvious, but so good

Though Ryan Seacrest’s Idol contract is up after this season, and the magic of his banter with Cowell would be glorious, I suspect he’s on to higher-paying gigs. Wouldn’t it be nice, though? Just for old time’s sake?

Or perhaps…

Producers could opt for Seacrest’s taller, snarkier doppelganger, Joel McHale. Since Community is in sitcom limbo and The Soup probably takes up about 8 minutes and 37 seconds of his time weekly, he could swing it. He would inevitably crack up at the absurdly long pauses and bring some much-needed slyness to the festivities.

A second chance for Ellen?

Ellen DeGeneres. Now hear me out. Though she has proven herself to be an excellent host for nine years of The Ellen DeGeneres Show and on the Emmys, clearly she was not meant to be a judge. Like Scherzinger, she couldn’t overcome the need to be nice. While that was a detriment in critiquing the contestants, it would be a benefit as a host.

File under: “Mind-Blowingly Awesome Things That Will Never Happen”

I’m just going to throw Kathy Griffin out there. She’s hosted reality TV before (The Mole, Mr. Personality), and she wouldn’t take any guff from Cowell. Of course, she’s prone to stripping and saying time-slot-inappropriate words, but for enough money, I’m quite sure she could clean up her act.

NEXT: On to the judges