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American Idol's Rickey Smith Is Dead At 36

Tragedy has befallen the pool of past American Idol hopefuls. Season 2 Idol finalist Rickey Smith was killed in a multi-car crash on an Oklahoma highway on Thursday night. He was 36 years old.

Rickey Smith’s car collided with another just outside of Oklahoma City, according to TMZ. The other car was reportedly driving on the wrong side of the road and crashed head-to-head into Smith’s vehicle. The driver of the other car was taken to the hospital and has been booked for a DUI.

American Idol first introduced Rickey Smith to the world way back in 2003. He was a finalist on the series’ second season and only 23 years old at the time of his first audition. Smith made that first audition in Los Angeles and ultimately finished his run on Idol in eighth place. Ruben Studdard was the ultimate victor of Season 2, and Clay Aiken followed as runner-up.

The final rounds of Season 2 were filled with some seriously stiff competition, so eighth place was still quite an accomplishment for the young singer. Even the harsh Simon Cowell couldn’t always find particularly caustic critiques for his performances. To see one of Rickey Smith’s best moments, check out this throwback to Season 2:

2016 has been a year filled with tragedies on the celebrity circuit, and Rickey Smith is only the latest famous face to pass away. The music community had already lost legendary artists David Bowie and Prince. Rickey Smith may not exactly have been a huge name, but he's definitely a crooner gone too soon.

Rickey Smith’s passing comes shortly after the show that gave him his fame came to an end. American Idol was cancelled after 15seasons on Fox. Interestingly, the highest ratings ever achieved in the history of the show came from Season 2. Smith appeared on the show during the height of its popularity, and so he definitely won’t be forgotten.

The final season of Idol was an ongoing extravaganza that brought back many contestants from seasons past. Rickey Smith was unfortunately not among them, but his fellow Season 2 contestants Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken appeared to give swan song performances. To see what you’ll be able to watch now that American Idol is off the airwaves, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.

It’s a shame that Rickey Smith passed away before he could do more to share his music with the world, but he’s certainly worth remembering for making Season 2 of American Idol more musically rich that would have been possible had he never made it beyond the audition round. We here at Cinema Blend send our thoughts and condolences to Smith's family and friends during this time of mourning.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.