”X Factor” judges L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. (Ray Mickshaw /Fox)

Fox has ordered a second season of Simon Cowell’s singing competition “The X Factor,” though it’s not clocking the 20 million viewers Cowell said was the threshold for success.

Even so, Fox reality programming president Mike Darnell insisted “The X Factor” is “a monumental success” ratings-wise, and that picking up the show for a second season is “a no-brainer” because the talent is “phenomenal” and “the live shows are spectacular” – though there has been only one live show – last Tuesday’s – as of this announcement, and we don’t see how even Mike Darnell, who is a rare bird, could have seen any more of the live shows ahead of time, what with them being, well, live.

Anyway, “The X Factor” is averaging more than 13 million viewers since its September debut which, while not 20 million (Simon had said before the show debuted that anything under 20 mil would be a disappointment) is nonetheless nearly 80 percent better than Fox did in the fourth quarter of 2010 on Wedesday nights and nearly 40 percent better than the network did on Thursday nights. Fox is also now No. 1 ranked among 18-49 year olds – advertiser cat nip – on Thursday nights for the first time in its history.

In reality, though, the pick-up was expected. The timing of the news release is interesting however, coming as it does the same day former X-testant Dexter Haygood — the sometimes homeless former Xavion frontman — told the Associated Press he wasn’t cut from the singing competition — he brokered a behind-the-scenes deal to get out of the competition for the $5 million prize because his appointed mentor, Nicole Scherzinger, made him sing Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” on national TV in front of 13 million people.

Contestant Dexter Haygood performs in front of the judges. (Ray Mickshaw)

The number the former Pussycat Doll gave him to perform also included bits of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” which only made things worse, Haygood said.

“Can you imagine Steven Tyler, Mick Jagger, James Brown, doing [‘Crazy in Love’ chorus] “Uh oh uh oh uh’?” an aggrieved Haygood complained to the AP. He insisted he told Scherzinger, two days before last week’s show, “I wanted to leave the show because I was unhappy that I was unable to be a rock artist. I grew up on rock.” As frontman in the ‘80s for Xavion, he at one point toured with Hall &Oates.

Haygood said she came back with an offer in which he would be cut if he agreed to return to the season finale.

Here’s another reason Fox may have decided Wednesday was the right day to wave the bright shiny light of an “X Factor” pick up before The Reporters Who Cover Television:

Numbers out Wednesday on “Glee” and “New Girl” show both lost nearly 20 percent in ratings upon returning to the network’s lineup Tuesday night. Fox took the two comedies off its schedule temporarily to make room for baseball championship/World Series coverage. It’s “Glee’s” second worst showing ever in some key demographic groups — behind only that Thanksgiving-eve broadcast in the show’s first season.