Whew! Nikki goes bye-bye in an overlong ''Idol.'' Voting Kelly and Justin into the final round, America did the right thing, says Jessica Shaw

By Jessica Shaw
Updated July 04, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Nikki McKibbin, American Idol
Credit: American Idol: Fox

Whew! Nikki goes bye-bye in an overlong ”Idol”

Collective sigh of relief, please? Okay. Thank you, America! Nikki McKibbin — she of the tone-deaf singing and unfortunate ’80s fashion sense — is headed home to the random corner of Texas she came from. Sure, she should have been voted off weeks ago and this episode should have been a tension-filled hour between Tamyra, Kelly, and Justin. But better late than never.

Still, there was one moment in the show that made me feel genuinely sorry for Nikki. We all wanted her off, the judges wanted her off. Hell, during that ridiculously cheesy opening number of ”Love Will Keep Us Together,” it almost looked as if Kelly and Justin were ready to push her off the stage. But did Simon really have to take his few seconds designated to give Nikki advice to tell Kelly that her rendition of ”Without You” was the performance of the entire competition? OUCH.

Of course, he was right. Kelly may not have nailed the judges’ choice song on Tuesday, but she proved her unbelievable strength tonight. I’m not so sure about the dark hair with choppy blond streaks or the fact that she insists on singing with her left hand attached to her stomach like she’s suffering from PMS, but she’s got the vocal cords Justin only wishes he had.

Even though I relished every second of ”Without You” and even enjoyed Justin’s ”Let’s Stay Together” tonight, can someone please explain why we had to watch them perform last night’s songs again? Why extend the show to an hour and then do nothing new? Oh, I’m sorry. This extra hour enabled us to enjoy some oh-so-clever new banter between Ryan and the Dunk. These guys make watching 10 seconds of their filler dialogue seem like a fate worse than being glued to QVC for 24 straight hours. And what was up with the Dunk coming back late after the commercial break on Tuesday, then saying, ”I couldn’t wait.” Either hold it in, or hold your tongue, buddy. Even worse, Ryan was caught on camera dancing to Justin’s ”Let’s Stay Together.” Clearly, his moves are better suited to his day job of sitting in a radio booth.

With far too much of Ryan and the Dunk, I was almost hoping for more time with the judges. Simon seems so over the show (I think he would have walked if Nikki had made it one more week), and he seems especially over Randy — with his relentless name-dropping — and Paula, whose comments are laughably incoherent. (”Two words: ‘Phe’ and ‘nomenal.”’ Please, Paula. It’s bad enough if what you say has no substance. But try not to butcher the English language while you’re getting your point — or lack thereof — across.)

Well, at least it’s just one more week. And without a contestant to hate, the show should be pretty entertaining. My prediction? Justin will choose the wrong song and choke, while consistent Kelly will triumph as the American Idol that she is. I can’t help but wonder if Justin’s father is going to collapse in a fit of tears as his son takes his final bow. Will Kelly get so excited she’ll shriek out ”Ducka! Ducka! Ducka!” prompting America to rescind her crown? Will Nikki reappear and try to off Simon on live TV? So much can happen in two hours! What do you predict for next week?

Episode Recaps


American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

  • TV Show
  • 16
  • 574
  • ABC