Then: If you tuned in for the audition process during the inauguaral season of ‘Idol,’ it immediately became clear that flame-haired country gal Nikki McKibbin would be some serious competition. From her spunky personality and bold, edgy look to her outstanding vocals, the Texas native wowed throughout the first season of ‘Idol’ with female-empowered rock standards like ‘Heartbreaker‘ and ‘I’m the Only One.’ Despite her strong showing, she finished in third place behind Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson.
Now: After her ‘Idol’ success, the road grew much more rocky for McKibbin. Although she signed a record contract pretty much the moment she stepped off the ‘Idol’ stage, she clashed with her label, as they wanted to transform the rocker into a country star. In 2007, she was finally able to release her debut album ‘Unleashed,’ following some in between music gigs and a venture into the karaoke business, but she is probably most known for her stint on VH1′s ‘Celebrity Rehab,’ as she fought to overcome her addiction to alcohol and cocaine, problems that stemmed from abuse as a child. She got clean and as of July 2011, was sober for three years strong. We wish you all the best, Nikki!