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Khloe Kardashian gets the ax at ‘The X Factor’

THE X FACTOR: 12 /13 perform:  L-R: Khloe Kardashian Mario Lopez THE X FACTOR Wednesday November 7 (8:00-10:00 PM

THE X FACTOR: 12 /13 perform: L-R: Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez on THE X FACTOR, Wednesday, November 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Ray Mickshaw / FOX.

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Updated: May 24, 2013 6:17AM

Considering how awkward Khloe Kardashian appeared as co-host of “The X Factor,” it’s no surprise the reality TV personality was dumped for next season. Her co-host Mario Lopez will be back — though it’s unclear if he’ll host alone, or be paired with someone new.

I’m hearing Lopez would prefer that, and “X” honcho and judge Simon Cowell (who was key to Khloe’s canning) is said to be leaning that way.“It certainly worked well for ‘American Idol’ after that first season when they dumped

Brian Dunkleman and went solo with Ryan Seacrest,” said one source. “Mario is just so comfortable in front of the camera and can handle live TV … unlike Khloe, who could barely read the TelePrompTer.” Kardashian further complicated things by “also being a huge diva.”

NAME GAME: Clearly former President Bill Clinton and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are honored to be the first president and first lady to have an airport named for them, but I’ll bet they’re amused by the new nickname given to the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Ark. “Locals are calling it the Hillbilly Airport,” a source told Confidenti@l. “In the South, how does that look?”

DESIGNING MAN: Noted interior designer Michael S. Smith — tapped by the Obamas as their White House designer and counting numerous other Chicagoans as clients — was here last week speaking at the Antiques & Garden Fair at the Chicago Botanic Garden and chatted about his new “Building Beauty: The Alchemy of Design” book. The contents of the amazing Malibu, Calif., home showcased in the book are being auctioned Tuesday and Wednesday by Christie’s in New York.

“I was obsessed by this project,” admitted Smith, who stressed that many of the furniture pieces, artworks and accessories he gathered over the nearly seven-year project “are truly one-of-a kind. … I really don’t think I could find them again.” While the overall auction estimates indicate the sale will bring up to $5 million, Smith stressed, “Trust me. Most of these things will be sold for far less than they are worth.”

“Building Beauty,” being released May 7, is unusual — focusing as it does on the creation of a single residence, including the perspectives of Smith, the architect, contractors and artisans, as seen through the lenses of numerous photographers, “including some shots taken with an iPhone!”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Looking to be the personal chef for Korean pop sensation Psy? The YouTube star is holding a talent search for someone to cook for him for a monthlong world tour. The pay is $40,000, plus five-star accommodations and travel. Details for the contest, sponsored by the Korean restaurant and food brand Bibigo, are all available on YouTube.

† Chicago food kingpin Rich Melman and his family are delighted “rock star” Michelin-rated French chef Alex Ageneau is whipping up special dinners this week at their Paris Club eatery.

† A trio of famous chefs — Charlie Trotter, Art Smith and Tony Hu — are collaborating on a fusion cuisine just for the Chinese American Service League’s May 8 dinner gala at the Hilton Chicago. Wrapports CEO Michael Ferro and National Material CEO Michael Tang are dinner co-chairs, hosted by Chicago TV stars Linda Yu, Nesita Kwan, Nancy Loo, Joanie Lum and Judy Wang.

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