Tyra Banks shocked America's Next Top Model fans when she fired her panel of experts -- Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander -- but the show's hostess says cleaning house was a necessary evil.

"We reached a point where were feel the show needs a new boost," Banks, 39, told Access Hollywood at New York City's Matrix Awards, just days after news broke that she had let her trusted colleagues go.

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Photographer Barker, runway coach Alexander and creative director Manuel have been with America's Next Top Model since its inception in 2003, but Banks confirmed via Facebook Friday that the trio would not return for Cycle 18.

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"It's very difficult because I love my guys -- they're my guys," Banks told Access, adding that she wouldn't rule out working with the men in the future. "My partner Ken Mok and I have projects we're developing, and we're a family -- it doesn't end."

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Though Alexander (affectionately known as Miss J) was surprised by his pink slip, Barker had an idea a shake-up was in the works. "I'm friends with Tyra and the producers," Barker told E! News Friday. "There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen."

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This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model Firings: Show "Needs a New Boost"