The news came on the eve of the first taped "X Factor" auditions, with the talent show still short one judge to join a panel that includes Simon Cowell, Antonio "L.A." Reid and Cheryl Cole. Reports were swirling that negotiations with presumptive judge Paula Abdul could go right down to the wire.
On Saturday (May 7) evening, FOX was only prepared to confirm the addition of Scherzinger and Jones.
Scherzinger, who served as a guest judge on the UK "X Factor," probably needs minimal introduction for American audiences. She might prefer we think of her as the former lead-singer and talent centerpiece for The Pussycat Dolls. We like to think of her as one of TV's most versatile reality gadflies. Before serving as a host for FOX, she judged on NBC's "The Sing-Off," won ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as a contestant and made chagrinned guest appearances on The CW's "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll" and "Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious." And, before any of that, Scherzinger was one of the stars of The WB's "Popstars."
Nicole Scherzinger is pretty much the Samuel L. Jackson of reality TV. She very rarely says "No."
Steve Jones, however, will be the big question mark for domestic audiences. The Welsh veteran presenter's credits include "Transmission" and "Carling Live 24," "T4," "Let's Dance for Comic Relief." He will next be seen hosting "Drop Zone," "Wedding Crashers" and "101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow."
"These two are going to be great together," promises Simon Cowell in the FOX release. "I have always wanted Steve to work with us; I think he is a real star. Nicole is fantastic. I loved working with her on the U.K. 'X Factor' last year. She is gorgeous and super-talented."
Gushes Scherzinger, "I am thrilled to be asked by Simon Cowell to host 'The X Factor.' I loved working alongside Simon on the U.K. show, and cannot wait to see what he has in store for the U.S. I’m so excited to work with Steve Jones and help discover astounding talent from across the country!"
And Jones adds, "I couldn't be happier to be coming onto 'The X Factor.' The ability to work day in and day out with Simon Cowell is a dream come true. I am honored to have that opportunity and thrilled to be able to share the stage with Nicole Scherzinger, whom I adore. I have been approached about working in the States before, but never felt right about those opportunities. But when 'The X Factor' came up, I lept at the opportunity."
Over the past couple months, there have been literally dozens of actors, singers and performers linked to "The X Factor" as possible hosts, with speculation ranging from "Gossip Girl" co-star Taylor Momsen to "High School Musical" star Corbin Bleu.
"Nicole is a triple-threat performer who knows how to captivate an audience, and Steve is an accomplished presenter whose original sense of humor has charmed viewers worldwide. Both possess the unique combination of personality and credibility that we were looking for in our hosts," states FOX Reality Guru Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment. "They’re incredibly charismatic, undeniably gorgeous, and fantastic entertainers in their own right."
Depending on the progress of negotiations, a Paula Abdul announcement could be right around the corner... Or not. Things are going fast and furious in "X Factor" Land.
FOX will premiere "The X Factor" in the fall, with aspiring singers competing for a $5 million Syco/Sony Music recording contract.