Ruthless Simon Cowell has axed Tulisa Contostavlos from The X Factor judging panel as he tries to boost the show's flagging ratings.
Tulisa, 24, was criticised by some for being "too distracted" with her personal life and for turning up late for a number of rehearsals.
A show source said: "Simon has always like to change things every year and Tulisa is going to pay the price for that.
"She wasn't as committed last year as when she won with Little Mix in 2011 and someone has to exit to freshen the series up."
Tulisa's exit not expected to be the only change on the show.
ITV are keen to remove Louis Walsh, but Cowell would prefer him to stay and go out on a high after this year's 10th anniversary series.
Gary Barlow also suggested he had enough of the show at the end of the last series, although ITV hope to tempt him back again.
Nicole Scherzinger is believed to be the only one with a guaranteed place after winning the 2012 series with James Arthur.
She has been verbally offered a place on the panel and will sign a contract next month if she agrees to the new deal.
A show source said: "Nicole was a surprise hit and she is welcome back with open arms if she wants to stay."
Cowell is under huge pressure as this year's series is the last in the current deal with ITV.
If the ratings continue to fall he will get a reduced fee for future editions of the show, making him millions less in profit.
In December X Factor could muster an average audience of just 9.5 million for the first stage of the final - its worst showing since 2005 when 9.2 million watched Shayne Ward triumph in the show.
A spokesman for Tulisa said the reports of her being axed were "pure speculation" but it is thought that she has not been told directly of the plans at this stage.