Khloe Kardashian officially has been kut.
Simon Cowell continues 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 that he promised in the fall of '11.
Cowell announced Monday that Khloe's co-host, Mario Lopez, would return in the fall — but this time flying 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 announcing the cut of Kardashian, who was not mentioned at all in the announcement.
Funny his mentioning Demi Lovato, who is the only other show regular to survive this latest talent purge. It also claimed as victims the other two judge/mentors, Britney Spears and L.A. Reid, both of whom issued announcements that they had discovered, regretfully, their dance cards were too full to come back for another season.
In February, when reports got out that Khloe "K2" Kardashian was kaput on the show, she told the 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 website 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!!!!"
Kardashian and Lopez replaced the first-season's Too Tall Steve Jones, who had been tossed out, along with judge/mentors Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.
When the show fell far short of his pre-launch ratings prediction, Cowell replaced Abdul and Scherzinger with the much younger Spears and Lovato, for the second season — resulting in even less viewers.
It was up to Kardashian and Lopez to bring in additional viewers. That, sadly, did not happen.
Kardashian 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 (Mike Manoui on "Nip/Tuck," Christian Ramirez on "The Bold and the Beautiful"), cops (Bobby Cruz on "Pacific Blue") and, of course, Bayside High School's star quarterback (A.C. Slater on "Saved by the Bell").
That is 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, camera operators and editors do all the heavy lifting on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," "Khloe & Lamar," "Kourtney & Kim Take New York," "Kourtney & Kim Take Miami" — although 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 was known for being very tall, looking wonderful in a suit and offering his perspicacious observations. Khloe broke new ground as a competition show host, with her DMV Eye Exam style of reading from the teleprompter and her perfection of the question "How does it feel?" through incessant repetition to the exclusion of all other questions.
In interviews long before Monday's non-shocking news, Kardashian said the producers told her not to take any lessons before debuting on 'X" — no doubt thinking that a hosting-virgin piloting "X" would make for good TV and great ratings.