Smith auditioned for American Idol in 2005 with the song "All I Do" by Stevie Wonder. Smith made it to the third round of the semi-finals, but was voted off on March 9 along with Travis Tucker.
Days later, Smith got a phone call from the producers asking him to come back in place of Mario Vazquez, who left for "family reasons". After returning, Nikko was dubbed "The Comeback Kid" by judge Paula Abdul after a performance of "One Hand, One Heart". However, in the same week, Nikko was voted off the show, placing ninth overall.