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The Daily Mirror cites unnamed sources and “terrible reviews” as the reason for Jones’ alleged dismissal. “There have been mistakes and he just doesn’t seem to have the knack for dealing with contestants,” writes the tabloid. “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.”
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter on December 1, Jones said he had “no idea” whether he would return for a second season. “Fingers crossed, I’d love to come back. [We’ll] see what happens,” he added, noting that no discussions as to his future on the series had taken place. “Normal protocol is that the show finishes and they assess — if they want me back, great. If they don’t, I’ll do something else, simple as that.”
According to the Mirror, the 34-year-old is said to be “devastated” with the news, which comes after an effort to “de-Welsh” his accent. Indeed, it seems the Rhondda, Wales native has learned the proper pronunciation of Maryland (said Marcus Canty, a resident of the state: “It was hilarious — I was talking about that for at least 2 or 3 weeks, but Steve is a smart man, I knew he’d figure it out”), though it contradicts his laissez-fair attitude before the start of the season.
Back in July, Jones told THR, “Fox wasn’t concerned, Simon wasn’t concerned, I wasn’t concerned. This isn’t my first rodeo, as they say. I’ve been back and forth to America for years, I’ve brought TV shows to the UK, I’ve done stuff with E!, and no one has ever had a problem with my accent.” He went on to explain that living in London for 10 years “Anglicized” his manner of speech. Said Jones: “It’s important if you’re on a nationwide TV show that people in Scotland, Ireland and England understand what you say. You can’t risk them saying, ‘What the hell is this guy talking about?’”
But that may be precisely what happened on this side of the pond as Jones often left viewers scratching their heads. Common complaints: a lack of empathy, the occasional off-script verbal stumble (like when he told eliminated girl group Ladoka Rayne “the dream is over,” prompting 17-year-old member Hayley Orrantia to grab the microphone and correct the host with a declaration that the dream is most certainly not ending at that moment) and an awkwardness around the contestants, particularly the younger ones.
The paper also speculates that judge Nicole Scherzinger, another X Factor player the public loves to hate, could take over as host, as she was originally hired to do before a contentious exit by Cheryl Cole left an open seat at the judges table.
Reps for Fox and X Factor did not respond to THR’s request for comment.
UPDATED: A rep for Jones tells THR, “The Mirror Story is a fabrication that we would have corrected had we been called for comment. There have been absolutely no conversations about Steve Jones Leaving The X Factor. 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.”
Says a show spokesperson: “Absolutely no discussions have been had and no decisions will be made about any contracts until the New Year.”
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