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The Linkin Park Factor, or Why American Idol’s Nikki McKibbin is Still Getting Millions of Votesby Peggy Keller -- 08/08/2002
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Well, here I am again. Defending the little guy, the one that so many of my peers want to dismiss. I have done this with other reality show contestants, I was Lindsey's biggest supporter when she acted like a diva on Survivor: Africa. I interviewed Villain Lex and tried to see him as the everyday dad of his two little boys. Last Survivor season I dedicated a weekly article to defending the losers, trying to see good in Survivor: Marquesas’ Boston Rob and the like. It is in my nature to root for the underdog, to try to see something in that person that seems to be lost on John Q. Public.
And here I am again, rooting for Nikki McKibbin on American Idol. There are two things I want to make crystal clear from the get-go:
However, I do like the girl, even her wink which seems to be on a ten-second rotation. I am not exactly sure why I like her; maybe it's because I was once a single mother with my own dreams. And I know there are many who say she should be home with her child, but I have a couple things to say about that.
Number one. Let's look at all the regular everyday celebrities who have children. Do we want them to stop doing what they do to stay home with their kids? The Nicole Kidmans, Madonnas, Mel Gibsons (or is this just a mother thing, do you think it's OK for fathers to leave their kids for weeks and months at a time but not mothers)? Would you rather see the child at home with a family member like Grandma as Nikki has done? Or is a nanny sufficient?
And number two, if she did NOT go off and try to be the best she can be, what kind of role model could she be for her child? Most psychologists will tell you that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first if you expect to be able to save your child. You have to be fulfilled in your own life if you expect to be fulfilled as a mother. I would much rather have her go off and try to do what she can to make her life better than for her to live with her Mom and be on welfare. I should note, lest there be any confusion, that Nikki is not on welfare; she is actually a business woman and she owns her own karaoke company in Texas.
When I was 20 I was on my way to backpack through Europe, to experience all Venice and Paris and London had to offer. I made it as far as Boston when I found out I was pregnant. There are moments of my life when I know, had I continued on to pursue my dreams, I would have been a much better mother in the end. If Nikki did stay home and sit in front of the TV cursing her missed shot, how healthy is that for her son? He is four and staying with Grandma, and I imagine that he will not remember much of his mother being gone when he is ten.
Now that we’ve dealt with that non-issue, Nikki is not a great singer, but she is good. I would guess that most classically trained singers would think that Justin and Tamyra and Kelly could never get the lead in Carmen or any other opera. But we like them anyway, don't we?
So the question is: If Nikki is as bad as much of the press she has gotten, then why is she still hanging around? The judges don't like her very much. Simon sounds like he can't stand her. And she does not get the biggest applause in the house. Justin does. But I have to wonder about Justin's fans. RJ was moments away from getting booted from the show. The tension was incredibly thick, millions of people were holding their breath and RJ was standing there in the spot light, waiting, waiting and someone yells from the crowd, "I love you JUSTIN!" RJ was thisclose to acknowledging the show of support until he realized they were screaming for the fair haired boy on the couch. What would possess a fan to yell that at that particular time? But we digress. Let’s get back to Nikki.1 2 Next-->
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