I'm really disappointed by that, but I had already heard the rumor, so I'm not really surprised. I thought the three of them made a great, well-balanced judging team. There doesn't seem to be any bad feelings involved though, which is good. I know Ben collaborated with her on her recent EP, which I really liked. I can understand her putting her music career first, but it's the show's loss, for sure.
I hope they don't bring Nicole back. Bless her heart, she was basically the sober version of Paula Abdul.