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'X Factor' denies tabloid reports of Steve Jones exit

Is Steve Jones leaving The X Factor? Not so fast, rumor mill.

A report from UK’s Daily Mail claimed host Steve Jones might not be part of season 2, and yesterday’s X Factor press conference left some speculating whether Nicole Scherzinger would return as a judge after she playfully dodged the question of her return. But an X Factor spokesperson tells EW both reports were purely speculative, saying, “Absolutely no discussions have been had and no discussions will be made about any contacts until the New Year.”

Additionally, Jones’s personal rep called the Daily Mail‘s report a “fabrication,” according to People.

Jones joined The X Factor originally to act as co-host with Scherzinger but was upgraded to a solo act after Scherzinger took her seat at the judges table following Cheryl Cole’s exit from the panel shortly after auditions began in May. Though his flavor of hosting has been cause for mixed reviews among fans of the show, Jones came out on top of an EW PopWatch poll last month, with 58 percent of the polled saying they could appreciate the Brit’s sometimes awkward demeanor.

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'The X Factor' judges and finalists on the Top 3's favorite performances, and why you shouldn't count out the groups

You have to give the folks at The X Factor credit for consistancy: Even their finale week press conference, held today on the show’s main stage at CBS Television City, opened with a full lighting package, an introduction from host Steve Jones, and mentor/judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid emerging from the mega-screen doors with finalists Melanie Amaro, Chris Rene, and Josh Krajcik. Before the press could ask any questions, we were even treated to a video package retracing the finalists’ “journeys” on the show.

After things finally did kick into gear, as is often the case with these kinds of “pressers” (to use the industry lingo), not a huge amount of news emerged from this event. Justin Bieber, Pitbull, and Ne-Yo will all perform on Thursday night’s finale, but there’s no word yet on which “superstar artist” (Simon’s words) will duet with the finalists on the Wednesday night show. Speaking of Wednesday night, Steve Jones had Melanie, Chris, and Josh pick from three cards to determine the order of the performances that night. Melanie drew the No. 1 card, which meant she got first dibs on when she wanted to sing, and she chose the final position. Chris had second choice, and he decided to sing second, which meant Josh will open the show.

There were a few other notable moments in the half-hour press event, though. Here are my top four impressions:  READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' eliminated contestant: 'I feel like a million dollars right now'

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the act to leave the show this week: READ FULL STORY

Barbara Walters previews tonight's 'Most Fascinating People' lineup

Barbara Walters is known for her restrained interview technique, her unflappable professionalism in the face of blubbering celebrities and tough-as-nails politicians. But there’s one bold-faced name — and an unexpected one at that — who inspired a rise in Walters’ usually measured timbre when she spoke with EW about her upcoming special, Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011. “I loved doing the interview,” spilled Walters of tart-tongued, deep-V-rocking X Factor host Simon Cowell.

Cowell was just one of the eight people Walters interviewed for tonight’s special, which runs 90 minutes for the first time in its 18-year history. Others included the Kardashians, Katy Perry, Donald Trump, and Derek Jeter. She will also profile Pippa Middleton and Amanda Knox. So what else did the interview queen have to say about Cowell and others on the short list? READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' exit interview: 'It's nobody’s fault -- it's not even America's fault'

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the act to leave the show this week: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' judges talk last night's emotional elimination: 'I genuinely know that Nicole didn't do this to be mean'

WARNING: Stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on to hear what the judges, minus the absent L.A. Reid, had to say about the controversial elimination: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' top five acts talk about Paula and Nicole's death threats: 'There are trolls out there'

After Drew Ryniewicz was eliminated on The X Factor last week, some angry fans expressed their outrage on Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, a few of those messages took the form of death threats directed toward judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, who both opted to save Marcus Canty instead of Ryniewicz. After Wednesday’s show, the five remaining singers had a simple message for those haters on Twitter: chill out.

“I just want people to relax,” Marcus Canty, who was also a recipient of some hostile online comments, told reporters backstage. “This is a friendly competition. There’s no reason to say you’re going to bomb people’s houses or try to kill them. It affected me because I love Paula and Nicole — they’re so nice. It makes me feel bad to see other people being so hateful and rude to them, but I guess that’s just part of the show.” READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' judges: A dangerous occupation?

Talk about a brutal competition: Reports have surfaced claiming the two female judges on The X Factor have received death threats in the wake of Drew Ryniewicz’s ouster on Thursday.

Angry fans apparently used Twitter to express their rage over the teen’s elimination, posting expletive-fueled comments about Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. Mentored by Simon Cowell, Ryniewicz was forced to sing for her life opposite Marcus Canty on Thursday, but ended up delivering a heartbreakingly poor performance of Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart.” She became the second contestant to leave Fox’s freshman competition show. READ FULL STORY

Chelsea Handler can't boost 'Whitney' ratings

A guest visit from upcoming NBC sitcom figurehead Chelsea Handler couldn’t pull Whitney from its ratings murk.

Handler guest-starred last night on the freshman sitcom, playing a therapist who tries to help stressed-out Whitney. The comedy matched its all-time low in the Nielsens, delivering 4 million viewers and a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. Handler’s new semi-autobiographical NBC series Are You There, Chelsea?, starring Laura Prepon as the fictional version of Handler, launches on Wednesday nights starting Jan. 11. (And to add another level of NBC cross-program playfulness, the Whitney episode’s title was “Up All Night.”)

In case you’ve missed it, here’s NBC’s four-minute preview of Are You There, Chelsea?, followed by more Thursday night ratings: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' exit interview: Second voted-off act says 'I was honestly dreading the results all day'

WARNING: Do not read further if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the second act to leave the show this week, after the judges’ vote: READ FULL STORY

'The X Factor' exit interview: First voted-off act says 'This is just the beginning for my career'

WARNING: Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know who was kicked off of last night’s episode of The X Factor. For everyone else, read on for the exit interview with the first act voted off the show this week:  READ FULL STORY

British productions win big at International Emmys

Christopher Eccleston and Julie Walters garnered the main acting awards as British TV productions won five International Emmys, including two for the BBC crime anthology Accused.

Accused, written and created by Jimmy McGovern, received the Emmy for best drama series at the 39th Annual International Emmy Awards ceremony at the Hilton New York Hotel. The anthology tells the stories of people accused of crimes as they sit in holding cells beneath the courtroom awaiting the verdict in their trials.

The ceremony kicked off with a surprise appearance by Lady Gaga, wearing a tattooed-thigh-revealing, floor-length black gown and oversize sunglasses. She presented the honorary International Emmy Founders Award to Britain’s Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. READ FULL STORY

Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars to perform on 'X Factor' -- EXCLUSIVE

Kelly Clarkson is making the leap: The singer whose TV career is synonymous with American Idol is reuniting with her former judge Simon Cowell on Fox’s The X Factor.

Clarkson, along with Grammy-winner Bruno Mars, will perform on X Factor‘s results show on a special night — Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. Finalists will face a double elimination on the live show leaving only seven acts left in the competition. Clarkson plans to sing “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” and Mars will perform “It Will Rain.” This week’s theme: “Giving Thanks.”

Since winning the first season of Idol in 2002, Clarkson has returned periodically to Fox, most recently last April during Idol season 10. Her most recent album “Stronger” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200.

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