And then there were two.
 
Over the course of three hours on Monday (January 30) night, FOX's "The X Factor" parted ways with host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger
 
Now, in the purge's lone true surprise, judge Paula Abdul formally announced her departure from "X Factor" on Tuesday morning.
 
That would leave Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid as the only members of the original American "X Factor" team to survive into the show's second season.
 
Abdul's exit was revealed by Deadline.com on Monday after it looked as if the dust had settled from the exit of the two "X Factor" principles generally expected to be part of any Season 2 overhaul. FOX sources declined to immediately confirm the Abdul exit after swiftly confirming Jones and Scherzinger's departures earlier.
 
"Yes, it's true; I won't be returning to The X Factor next season," Abdul stated on Tuesday. "I’ve learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations.  Simon and I, along with Fox and Fremantle, have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation.  Simon is, and will remain a dear friend of mine and I’ve treasured my experience working this past season with my extended family at Fox and Fremantle. I want nothing more than for The X Factor to exceed ALL of their wildest dreams.  This truly has been a blessing and I am most grateful.”
 
Although she wasn't considered an "X Factor" highlight, few expected that Abdul would be leaving, especially after her reunion with Simon Cowell offered one of the major promotional hooks of the first season.
 
Stated FOX Reality Guru Mike Darnell, ""We love Paula. She is a remarkable talent and we appreciate all of her contributions. We're lucky that she is a part of the FOX family, and we look forward to working with her again soon."
 
Unlike her earlier separation from Cowell on "American Idol," Abdul didn't break the "X Factor" news on Twitter, making Jones the only "X Factor" denizen to tweet his fate.
 
Regarding the grand, mass exodus, Simon Cowell stated, "I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of 'The X Factor' last year. We had a lot of fun making the show together and importantly, we found some real talent and stars. You do develop friendships with the people you work with and Paula, in particular, is a very close friend and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future. I'm sure all three are going to have massive success in what they do next , but now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year."
 
Stay tuned for what will be a wacky couple months of rumors regarding the identity of those two new "X Factor" judges and the new "X Factor" host.