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The American Idol family has unfortunately suffered a tremendous loss. This past weekend, it was announced that Nikki McKibbin, who competed on the very first season of the show, passed at the age of 42 after suffering an aneurysm last week. Back in 2002, The talented singer finished the competition in third place after Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson. Following her sudden passing, many American Idol stars like Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul are now paying tribute to her on social media.
When Nikki McKibbin first walked into the infamous judge’s room for her American Idol audition, she wowed viewers with her impressive vocal range and unique look. Ryan Seacrest, who was the co-host of the show at the time, remembered McKibbin as a superstar, saying that she set a high bar for talent on the singing competition show:
Paula Abdul, who sat on that judges’ panel when McKibbin came to audition, sent her condolences to the late singer’s family and said that the first season of American Idol wouldn’t have been what it was without her “powerful voice” and “captivating stage presence”:
Former American Idol co-host Brian Dunkleman also took to Twitter to share a short and sweet message in Nikki McKibbin’s memory:
Fellow American Idol contestant Jim Verraros, who finished in ninth place on the first season of American Idol, posted a loving message on Instagram, which featured a throwback photo of some of American Idol Season 1’s contestants:
Justin Guarini also posted a heartfelt tribute to McKIbbin on Instagram, calling her a “a fiery, funny lady.” He also recalled a special moment for the late singer that involved Stevie Nicks:
After appearing on American Idol, Nikki McKibbin entered a few music-related ventures, first managing a karaoke company before getting serious about her music career. In the years that followed, she recorded singles that appeared on various albums and, in 2007, she released her first album, Unleashed. In 2014, her son, Tristian, would also audition for American Idol and, while he would make it to Hollywood, he was eliminated before the live shows began
McKibbin also battled alcohol addiction and appeared a on number of reality TV shows in which she sought to overcome her alcoholism. She was also candid about physical and emotional abuse she experienced as a child.
The sentiments of Nikki McKibbin’s friends and former co-stars all beautifully sum up just what a unique talent she was. Seeing the outpouring of support from stars and fans has truly been beautiful to see, and it’s a firm example of just how tight knit the American Idol community can be. That first season was truly special for a number of reasons, and McKibbin’s vivacious presence and immense talent were definitely contributors.
We here at CinemaBlend extend our thoughts to the family and friends of Nikki McKibbin during this time.