First L.A. Reid jumped the Titanic-esque sinking ship that is "The X Factor." Then Britney Spears jumped--or maybe she was pushed. And way before that, Season 1's Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, and Steve Jones were all shown the Fox exit door. And now it has been confirmed that last year's co-host, Khloe Kardashian--arguably the least loathable Kardashian, who was presumably drafted by Simon Cowell to boost the show's ratings (but didn't)--will not be coming back to "The X Factor" after her one-season run.
Fox reps only issued the following bare-bones statement: "Khloe Kardashian will not be returning to co-host 'The X Factor.' We really enjoyed working with her and wish her all the best in her future endeavors." However, an "X Factor" source did tell Yahoo! Music's Reality Rocks: "She was not asked back to the show."
So apparently the new single by "X Factor" finalists Emblem3, "Chloe (You're the One That I Want)," has absolutely nothing to do with the trio's similarly named former Season 2 co-star. Thanks for clearing that up, Fox.
Seriously, the employee turnover rate at "The X Factor" has become about as rapid as it is at one's local McDonald's. However, along with judge Demi Lovato, who recently announced that she is officially returning for "The X Factor" Season 3, Khloe's congenial co-star Mario Lopez will also be back to host the show this fall. "I'm looking forward to returning to 'The X Factor' team," Mario said in a Fox-issued statement. "We're coming back stronger and better than ever and I'm excited to check out all the new talent." There is no word yet on whether Mario will go it alone in Season 3 or if he'll be joined by a new co-host.
Honestly, I don't think Khloe did such a terrible job as host--she was better than I expected her to be, not that that's saying much, and she was actually an improvement on Season 1 host Steve Jones (not that that's saying much, either). But, still. She did tend to shout every word with about as much voice-modulation control as Will Ferrell's "SNL" character Jacob Silj, seemingly unaware that a hot microphone was only about half an inch from her lips. It was like all of her teleprompter dialogue was written in ALL CAPS or something. And when someone else was using that mic--like, say, the poor girls from eliminated country trio Sister C, giving their goodbye speech--she'd yank it away from them while they were still in mid-sentence. (Apparently spending the past few years of her life with a mic-pack strapped to her back, on her various E! reality shows, in no way prepared Khloe for a job that involved operating an actual microphone.)
Khloe also displayed her lack of social skills when it came to contestant interaction by grilling booted singers with oh-so-empathetic queries along the lines of "So, how does it feel to have all your hopes and dreams crushed like so much silt in Simon Cowell's fist? Is your life, like, destroyed?" Really, Khloe always seemed out of her depth next to a seasoned pro like Mario (who probably would be better off hosting solo next season, as he did on "America's Best Dance Crew"). Not even her see-through breakaway blouses were enough to generate "X Factor" ratings in the end.
So what now? Let's face it, "The X Factor" has had two seasons to get it right, and it has pretty much epically failed, so it'll be make-or-break time come this fall. Demi, who was the most useful and invested judge last year, may be an especially valuable asset to the show next season, and Mario is pleasant and inoffensive enough. But who else will round out the Season 3 cast? Demi recently said her dream "X Factor" co-judge would be Lady Gaga, but after Fox squandered $15 million on Britney, it's highly unlikely that the network would pony up the salary needed to get an A-lister like Mother Monster on board. Ne-Yo has revealed that he's in talks to join the judging panel, and I'd be happy with that casting (as a Grammy-winning singer as well as a successful producer and songwriter-for-hire, he'd actually bring some industry credibility to the show), but obviously Ne-Yo alone would not be able to save this Fox franchise.
And then, of course, there is the larger "X" issue, one much more serious than any comings-and-goings among the show's judges and hosts. It's about the contestants. It's the fact that this U.S. series has yet to launch a legitimate singing superstar (unlike Simon's old show, "American Idol," of course). Season 1 champion Melanie Amaro hasn't even released her (apparently indefinitely delayed) debut album, almost a year and a half after her win, and there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of anticipation or hype surrounding the new album by Season 2 winner Tate Stevens, which actually comes out this week. Maybe Simon should stop worrying about hiring reality stars to host his struggling show and should focus on making stars out of "The X Factor's" actual singers.