By Kate Ward
Updated January 31, 2012 at 02:43 PM EST
Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox
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I wanted to like X Factor in its first season. I really did. As a longtime American Idol fan, it had what seemed like a perfect formula: Simon Cowell + Paula Abdul + Unknown, Up-and-Coming Singers – Randy Jackson. Unfortunately, in my household, that formula only added up to ho-hum television, and, based on the first season’s lower-than-expected ratings, many of you agreed. (X Factor‘s finale attracted a respectable 12.4 million viewers, but that’s still 8 million fewer viewers than Idol‘s season 10 finale.) Alas, even without Randy, the judges’ panel was no match for early Idol viewing, and its host, Steve Jones, was far less involved and fun-loving in X Factor‘s early episodes than Ryan Seacrest is in Idol.

But now, X Factor is remedying those dull spots. As EW reported, host Jones and judges Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul have been given the boot. No doubt, this is fantastic news for many who found themselves detesting Scherzinger — especially after the Rachel Crow fiasco — but also for anyone who enjoys good TV. It’s clearly a smart move for X Factor: Not only has the series gotten rid of its weaknesses, but it’s also made a move to keep the show in headlines for the next few months. Even non-X Factor fans will be dying to know: Who will replace Jones, Abdul, and Scherzinger? As my colleague James Hibberd noted, The Voice‘s starry cast overshadowed X Factor‘s B-list panel; seems X Factor sure would want to add some A-list talent. Like, say, Mariah?

But no matter who sits on the panel in season 2, I’ve found myself curious enough to schedule X Factor on my DVR once again, if only to see how the series handles this significant shake-up. (Though I’m fearful about a Cowell without Abdul. Remember season 9 of American Idol, anyone?) Am I alone? Or might this move finally get Cowell the 20 million viewers he’s been clamoring for? Vote below!

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

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The X Factor

Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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