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Nicole Scherzinger

Fired from 'X Factor'

... Laughs It Off in NYC

1/31/2012 5:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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Hours before Nicole Scherzinger was officially bounced from "X Factor" last night ... the former judge was in NYC, laughing off questions about her demise as if the mere THOUGHT of termination was pure insanity.

Nicole was leaving Nello's when we asked, "Are you still doing 'X Factor?'" - Nicole simply giggled at the question ... and then waved us off.

FOX has since confirmed Nicole will NOT return to the show ... neither will host Steve Jones.

There are reports Paula Abdul is also on the chopping block -- so far, there has been no formal announcement about her fate.

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