12:00pm PT by Shirley Halperin
'X Factor': Host Steve Jones Addresses Season 2 Return
Rumors are already spreading about a possible judge swap -- X Factor UK’s Kelly Rowland for US judge Nicole Scherzinger -- and there’s the question of host Steve Jones and whether he’ll return.
“I have no idea,” Jones told The Hollywood Reporter after Thursday’s elimination. “Fingers crossed, I’d love to come back.” Normal protocol, says the six-foot-plus Brit, “is the show finishes and they assess. If they want me back, great. If they don't, I'll do something else, it’s as simple as that.”
More complicated is the matter of a major judging switch, but Simon Cowell shot that idea down on Thursday night, too. “I have never had that conversation," he said when asked about the Rowland-Scherzinger rumor. "Though after tonight maybe it's not a bad idea. Maybe I should send them both [Paula Abdul and Scherzinger]! But no, it’s not true at all."
Principal players aside, there’s also the matter of the show’s budget. Cowell’s flagship program is one of the more expensive shows on the air (with production costs estimated between 2 to 3 million dollars an episode), and while it’s 3.0 share is solid, can it sustain such exorbitant spending?
The jury’s still out on that one, but expect these issues to be sorted out soon after the show’s December 22 finale, which was itself the subject of a rumor: that the last show may be held in Las Vegas. Said Jones: “I can neither confirm or deny that,” while a show rep insists it’s pure speculation.