Paula Abdul’s shocking firing from “The X Factor” late Monday night did not surprise one person — Paula Abdul. In fact, she says, she saw it coming “for a while.”Host Steve Jones and judge Nicole Scherzinger were unceremoniously dropped from the show after a top-secret Monday confab between the show’s producers and Fox executives, sources say. But Abdul and creator Simon Cowell have been choreographing her exit for weeks.In a statement yesterday that seemed to suggest it was Fox — not Cowell — who voted her off the show, Abdul called Simon “a dear friend.” UPI YOU’RE OUT: Paula Abdul (pictured below with Nicole Scherzinger) getting cut from “X” appears not to be Simon Cowell’s choice. WireImage “I’ve learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations,” she said. “I have absolute understanding of the situation.”Insiders say Abdul’s role on the show had become “irrelevant,” partly because the groups she mentored were eliminated early and because Simon had found a new nemesis in fellow judge L.A. Reid.Others suggested her presence simply made the show look too similar to “American Idol.”Part of what sources call Abdul’s “amicable exit” deal appears to be the promise of teaming up with Cowell in a new show.“Paula is a very close friend, and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future,” Cowell said Tuesday.Mike Darnell — head of reality programming for Fox — fueled the speculation of another Simon-Paula collaboration by adding: “We love Paula . . . We look forward to working with her again soon.”No matter, the wholesale firings underscore just how unhappy Fox and Cowell were with the show’s chemistry — and ratings — in its inaugural season.“X Factor” averaged 12 million viewers a week — about two-thirds of “Idol’s.” It was shrouded in controversy from the very beginning — from the firing of judge Cheryl Cole to the shocking elimination of 13-year-old Rachel Crow.A top-to-bottom overhaul is now in the works, with only Cowell and Reid returning.Cowell has made no secret of his desire to bring Mariah Carey on board when the show returns in September.“She’s been very enthusiastic about the show,” he joked last summer. “But then she selfishly got pregnant, which is why she didn’t end up as a judge.”Carey — whose husband, Nick Cannon, also works for Cowell on “America’s Got Talent” -— signed on to be a guest mentor during Season 1, but was unable to travel to the taping due to Hurricane Irene.