Nikki McKibbin and Mario Vazquez, <EM>American Idol</EM>  Nikki McKibbin and¬†Mario Vazquez, American Idol¬†

Take heart, Lisa Tucker: Provided that no one's given you a nickname as embarrassing as Chicken Little, your elimination from American Idol last night is not necessarily a one-way ticket to the Surreal Life house on your way back to obscurity. Look at Latin heartthrob Mario Vazquez, last season's standout who quit the competition while still a judges' darling. This week he's releasing his first single, "Gallery," on J Records and in two languages, no less. Not to be outdone, Idol 1's third-place finisher, rebellious rocker Nikki McKibbin, is also back with a vengeance. She's now accepting preorders through her website, nikkimckibbin.com, not only for her Chenoa Records debut single, the ya-gotta-hear-it-to-believe-it epic "The Lie," but also for a two-disc package that includes the video, a behind-the-scenes making-of DVD and her unplugged rendition of the Mr. Big hit "To Be with You." Both Vazquez's and McKibbin's full-length releases will follow shortly thereafter. Feel better now, Lisa?