New blow for Cowell as Abdul abandons X Factor
Paula Abdul has joined the exodus from Fox's disappointing US X Factor show -- attributing her departure to business interests.
The singer said she would not return to "dear friend" Simon Cowell's music contest when it begins its second season later this year.
Her announcement follows the exit of fellow judge Nicole Scherzinger and British host Steve Jones.
"I've learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations," Paula said in a measured statement.
She and others involved with the show understood the situation, she said, adding: "Simon is, and will remain a dear friend of mine and I've treasured" working on The X Factor.
In a separate statement, Cowell did not address the reason for the changes but thanked the exiting trio "for everything they did last year".
Cowell and Antonio 'LA' Reid remain on the judging panel.
There was no immediate word from producers on who might fill the open seats.
Despite respectable ratings, X Factor has failed to achieve popularity similar to Fox's American Idol, which Cowell left to import X Factor from the UK.
He had predicted his new show would be a blockbuster.