Simon Cowell, American Idol

X Factor producers insist they haven’t decided if malfunctioning host-bot Khloe Kardashian will return for season three. But the New York Post claims she won’t be back. “They are asking Mario [Lopez] to come back, but not Khloe,” an insider told the publication.

That would align with the sense we got from Fox reality chief Mike Darnell last month, as well as a tip we recently received that Fox denied. “I think the hosts were okay,” Darnell told EW in January. “I think Mario knows how to be a host. I think Khloe was new. And I thought for someone new she did okay. She never hosted before.”

For now, however, the network and the show’s producers say the Kardashian report is premature. “The producers have not yet made the talent decisions for this year,” an X Factor rep said in statement. (Yet if you always believe what The X Factor team says about departing talent rumors, then you’d still think Steve Jones was hosting the show).

If Kardashian does exit, there could be another reason for the shakeup aside from the TV personality’s awkward performance (see below). With X Factor ratings down for season two, we’re told producers might have to look for ways to shrink the show’s budget. Networks generally prefer cuts to be less visible to the audience, so the storytelling quality doesn’t suffer (hey stop laughing!). But if American Idol can get by with one host, surely X Factor doesn’t really need two — especially when the duo didn’t exactly win raves the first time around.

The departure would mean Kardashian is following judges Britney Spears and L.A. Reid out the door, with Simon Cowell remaining at the helm and Demi Lovato still uncertain. What do you think? Should Kardashian get the boot? Moreover: Should Lopez be asked to return?

This ultra-short X Factor clip has terrible video quality, but there’s just enough here to show how Kardashian could make Lopez look like Seacrest:

Episode Recaps

Simon Cowell, American Idol
The X Factor
Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio judge Season 3.
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