It takes three to make a thing go wrong, apparently — at least when it comes to "The X Factor USA." After three seasons of diminishing returns, ratings, and record sales, the fledgling Fox singing show has officially been canceled, or, as Fox's press release words it, has "completed its domestic run."
Yes, producer and judge Simon Cowell has tried to put a positive spin on all of this: It was announced with great fanfare Friday that he's returning to the judges' table at "The X Factor U.K.," a far more successful series that has spawned actual superstars like Leona Lewis and 2013's top-selling British act, One Direction. With a full schedule in England (not to mention a baby on the way), he can now conveniently explain that he simply doesn't have time to simultaneously helm an American version of the show.
2. That time when Cheryl Cole was fired after only two weeks. Cheryl was already a national treasure over in Britain, due to her tenure in pop group Girls Aloud and as a judge on "The X Factor U.K.," And Simon reportedly lobbied hard to have her judge the U.S. version of the show. But after only a few audition tapings, she was unceremoniously sacked. Was it because producers were worried that her thick Geordie accent would be difficult to understand? Was it due to her rumored lack of camaraderie with Paula? Whatever the reason, her sudden firing indicated that even early on, there was chaos behind the scenes of this show.
6. That time when Simon told The Hollywood Reporter that an audience of less than 20 million would be a "disappointment." Simon was never able to live this one down. "The X Factor's" series premiere only drew 13 million. And by Season 3, he would have been thrilled with 13 million, since the show's audience was now about half of that. Ouch.
8. That time when Melanie Amaro's album never came out. The Season 1 winner's debut disc, Truly, was initially slated for a Dec. 2012 release. Dec. came and went. Then it was supposed to come out in March 2013. It didn't. Now the album has been shelved indefinitely, probably permanently, after her two singles failed to chart. For a show based entirely on the premise of launching superstar careers, this was an inauspicious start.
10. That time when Khloe Kardashian was hired to co-host. Khloe was a better host than Steve Jones, but she was still totally out of her depth trying to present on live television. Her most annoying quality was her tendency to shout every word with about as much voice-modulation control as Will Ferrell's "SNL" character Jacob Silj, seemingly unaware that a hot microphone was only about half an inch away from her lips. It was like her teleprompter dialogue was written in ALL CAPS or something. Apparently spending the past few years of her life with a mic-pack strapped to her back, on her various E! reality shows, in no way prepared Khloe for a job that involved operating an actual microphone. She was not asked to return for Season 3 ... but Season 2 fourth-placers Emblem3 did write a song about her.
13. That time when Tate Stevens's album totally tanked. Season 2's winner actually got to release an album, but it went largely unnoticed, stalling at number 18 on the Billboard album chart and selling only about 45,000 copies to date. Tate wasn't ever invited back to "The X Factor" to perform — something even Melanie Amaro got to do once.