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Steve Jones, Nicole Scherzinger voted off The X Factor?

Fox mum on rumored cast shakeup

Is this Steve Jones' final week as host of The X Factor?

Look out for possible changes when The X Factor launches its second season on Fox next fall.

That's the buzz that's got online gossips chattering.

Host Steve Jones has allegedly been axed as host of the talent show after his tenure was plagued by "terrible reviews." Also on the chopping block is Nicole Scherzinger, who proved herself an indecisive judge when she waffled on a vote and fan favorite Rachel Crow ended up going home.

"Everyone thought he'd be a new Ryan Seacrest, in the sense he'd become a huge star here," an X Factor insider told The Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday. "It just didn't happen… Everyone has been surprised about that, including Simon [Cowell], who was initially a big fan of Steve's."

USA Today pundit Robert Bianco once called the 34-year-old Welsh presenter "as charmless as a Ken doll and even less animated."

"There have been mistakes and he just doesn't seem to have the knack for dealing with contestants," the tabloid tattle added. "The executives at Fox have already decided not to renew his contract and so, short of a miracle happening, it is pretty much a done deal that he will not take part next season."

Jones' "people" promptly issued a statement denying that the host has been asked to leave the show.

"There have been absolutely no conversations about Steve Jones leaving The X Factor," his rep said this week. "Steve is very happy with the outcome of this season and he looks forward to being back and discovering more talent in the new year."

Steve has previously blamed his "rude" hosting manner — which saw him fail to comfort axed 13-year-old Crow when she collapsed to the floor in tears live on air — on "screaming" producers.

"I'm wearing an earpiece and there's about five people screaming, 'Shut Paula up. Shut her up now. Move on.' I'm going to have hearing damage in this ear by the end of series," he said.

"I feel terrible because I feel on occasions I'm coming across as rude and abrupt and that's really not me. I cherish every word that comes out of Paula."

Nicole Scherzinger owns up to Rachel Crow heartbreak >>

Deadline Hollywood reports that Scherzinger could move from a judge's seat into Jones' hosting job.

The "Don't Cha" hitmaker took up a role on the judging panel, alongside L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul and show creator Simon Cowell, after British pop tart Cheryl Cole was sensationally fired from the series after just four rounds of auditions.

"Nicole has been too much of a diva, plus she's surprisingly overwhelmed by the decision-making required of the judging process on the show. When she sold Rachel Crow down the river — that was the final nail in her coffin," the Sun-Times source added.

The X Factor's finale has a Pitbull and a Bieber >>

When asked at a press conference Monday whether she'd return for a second season of The X Factor if asked, the Pussycat Dolls singer didn't give a straight answer, saying, "I've had a lot of fun this season. The reason I took this job is I wanted to mentor, first and foremost… It has been very hard on me, the elimination process. It's something I could never have been prepared for."

Officially, a show rep tells People, "No discussions have been had and no decisions will be made about any contracts until the New Year."

Photo credits: FayesVision/WENN.com
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