Nikki Kerkhof hails from the Netherlands and she's the best female singer to come out of Pop Idol/X Factor. A quick tour through her Itunes/Youtube stuff makes you severely forget the likes of that singer who keeps on bleeding love. If not that then wonder what all the fuss is about. Take a look at the live performance of Nikki's first single "Hello World". She confesses with absolute sheer joy that 'she's gonna have to steel the show' and she does. Its not merely her huge range, but its the fact that unlike Leona Lewis Nikki has the kind of stage presence that makes you feel happy.
Yeah-Go right to the end and watch it all through for she's utterly amazing. Take the joyness of Same Difference and the lungs of Carole King and you have the amazing Nikki. In all the Youtube clips, she owns the stage. Its like she's not auditioning for a record contract at all. Its completely natural. She dances away like a pro. The song, Hello World, is a happy one and she makes sure shes out there bouncing away with her backing dancers like an absolute pro.
She has also "covered" Bleeding Love on the Dutch version and its a real shame the time constraints don't allow her to truly belt out the record but there you go. What you do realise though is how awfully stiff Leona is when she appears under the spotlight. Oh but she has that voice. Her lack of stage frivolity is excusable because she needs to ensure she hits those notes. Hogwash! Look at Nikki's performance of the same song above. She completely steals the song and parades the fact she's committed grand song theft. She moves towards the guitarist, she moves around the stage and she touches her hair like life depended on it.
Now take a look at Nikki's ever so sexy version of Valerie. Gone are the thoughts of Amy and the simply frozen performances of so many contestants who appear on these sort of shows. Why is it Leona refuses to dance? Remember her performance of Lady Marmalade? She just stood there in her jeans ripping the disco classic apart with little love for the stage she was on. A plank of wood trilling like she was Britney thinking she's Whitney. Thats all it was. Absolutely no charisma. Kelly Clarkson also makes you spot the creases in the wallpaper behind the T.V set. Zip over to Nikki and the performance of Valerie and she's bouncing away like a true lady marmalade. She gets her leg over the chair, shimmies her ass like she just don't care and flawlessly wraps her voice around the notes.
If you doubted her brilliance let me refer you to her River Deep, Mountain High performance. Never in Pop Idol history have I seen anything like this. It took a few years Linda Bengzting to get that confident. Only once does she seem tired and lets out a slightly messy note but she's literally leaping around like a Amy Diamond on her album cover (the 3rd one). Compare her to Agnes Carlsson, Marie Picasso, Leona, Kelly and in fact any of Pop Idol-Fame Factory-X Factor winners and you'll be hard to find one that matches her combined energy, vocal strength and stage performance. Her version of River Deep, Mountain High not only leaves the aforementioned singers in the corner but also nearly nestles next to the original. Of course, Tina's is Tina's but the power of Nikki's performance pays tribute to Ms.Turners and for this she can be extremely proud.
Even when Nikki has to stand still she produces a charmed performance. Look at her version of of Climb Every Mountain. It reminds me of Shirley Clamp. Nikki enters the song as a singer and leaves it as a diva even producing tears. The song was camp as it originally stood but Nikki cranks that notch up to an intense level that leaves her strung up by the composition. She gives absolutely everything into her performance ensuring that every emerging sound that comes from her lung is somehow a part of the stage and her audience. There are many ways singers can perform Climb Every Mountain and some who have and can't. There is the brilliantly rich Shirley Bassey approach and then there is Christina Aguilera's take which is nothing but stuff made of nightmares. Nikki allows us the audience to hear the message of the song rather scream at us like some crazed mountain walker forcing ninety year olds up Mount Everest (see Christina's dreadful version if you dare in the link provided above).
So, I truly hope Nikki gets her moment to go global. Not only was her debut single perhaps one of the best first singles by a reality contest singer but she's also exposed an amazing brevity of stage awareness, feeling and whats more she looks like she's having fun. Hello World, Hello Nikki...welcome to planet pop!