Khloe Kardashian has been kut.
Simon Cowell, continuing to cull “The X Factor” herd in hopes of finally — finally — finding that magic combination of hosts and judges that will help his singing competition achieve the audience of 20 million he promised Fox — and us — back in the fall of ’11, announced Monday that Khloe’s ko-host Mario Lopez was returning to host the third season, in the fall, and would fly solo.
“Hosting a live show and keeping the judges — especially Demi — in line is not an easy job…Mario is a pro and we are glad he’s coming back,” Cowell said, by way of praising Lopez while kinda explaining the cut of Kardashian, who was not mentioned at all in Monday’s announcement.
Funny his mentioning Demi Lovato, who is the only other show regular to survive this latest talent purge, which also claimed as victims the other two judge/mentors, Britney Spears and L.A. Reid — both of whom discovered, regretfully, that their dance cards were too full to come back for another season.
Back in February, when word got out that Khloe was kaput on the show, Khloe herself told Huffington Post that when she debuted last season and “lost my confidence,” Cowell tried to buck her up by telling her, “I hired you for you — I could have hired any trained host, so be yourself.”
Herself, it appears, did not cut it.
For those of you who missed it, the second season of “X” actually debuted in September host-less. Not long before the actual competition rounds began, Khloe took to her official Web site and announced: “Hi loves. I’m sure you’ve been hearing the rumors and I’m SO excited that I can finally confirm the news — I am joining ‘The X Factor ‘as co-host with Mario Lopez!!!!”
“I’m a huge fan of the show so I literally fell over in my chair when I heard that I was being considered for the role,” she added.
Kardashian and Lopez replaced the first-season host, Too Tall Steve Jones, who had the gig one short season before being tossed out, along with judge/mentors Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger — the first round of flotsam and jetsam of Cowell’s pre-launch boast that the show would attract an audience of 20 million viewers.
When the show fell far short of that prediction, he replaced Abdul and Scherzinger with the much younger Spears and Lovato, for the second season — resulting in even fewer viewers.
So it was up to Kardashian and Lopez to bring ‘em in. That did not happen.
Khloe was a newcomer to show hosting, but Lopez came with experience to spare, having hosted “Pet Star” and ‘Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew.”
He also got rave reviews for his romancing of professional dance partner Karina Smirnoff on “Dancing with the Stars,” has appeared on “Hollywood Squares,” and worked the red carpet for “Extra.” The versatile Lopez is also an accomplished actor, specializing in playing doctors (Dr. Mike Manoui on “Nip/Tuck,” Dr. Christian Ramirez “The Bold and the Beautiful”), cops (Police Officer Bobby Cruz on ”Pacific Blue”) and, of course, Bayside High School’s star quarterback (A.C. Slater on “Saved by the Bell”).
That’s not to say Kardashian had no TV experience. She was a veteran — it’s just that she had focused exclusively on the role of “herself” and let the writers, cameramen, and editors do all the heavy lifting on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “Khloe & Lamar,” “Kourtney & Kim Take New York,” “Kourtney & Kim Take Miami” — though she did actually compete in one season of “The Apprentice.
Kardashian and Lopez worked together before debuting as a team on “X,” when Lopez appeared in an infomercial for Khloe, Kim, and Kourtney’s “Perfect Skin” skin-care system.
Jones set the X-hosting bar very high in his one season on the show. In addition to being very tall, and looking wonderful in a suit, he was known for his perspicacious observations during each episode — like the time, after Lenny Kravitz performed, when Jones proclaimed, “Handsome man!”
But Khloe also broke new ground in the reality competition show hosting world with her DMV Eye Exam style of reading from the teleprompter, and her honing of the question “How does it feel?” through incessant repetition.
In subsequent interviews, Khloe revealed the producers told her not to take any lessons before debuting on ‘X,” apparently thinking it would make for good TV to have a hosting-virgin co-helm the show.