Speaking to The Sun Times, a staffer claimed the Pussycat Doll singer had expected to return, and was shocked when Simon gave her he chop.
"While [host] Steve [Jones] knew he wasn’t coming back [and] realized that sadly he just didn’t connect with the U.S. audience — everyone was stunned that Nicole thought she’d be back for the second season," the source said.
They added: “On top of being an impossible diva to work with, so many fans really hated her — especially after her vote led to [popular young contestant] Rachel Crow being eliminated.”
Insiders also revealed that Paula Abdul was cut from the show because she was "too soft" with her comments towards the contents.
And the sources suggested that Paula's exit was “anything but amicable", saying that were "a lot of angry words" when the news was announced last week.
The source explained: “I know Simon and Paula say they’re still friends, and Simon’s claiming he and Paula will again work together, but there will have to be some time for that [rift] to heal after what went down the past few days."