‘American Idol’ tragedy: season 2 finalist Rickey Smith dies

Rickey Smith

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Friday, May 6, 2016

Season 2 “American Idol” finalist Rickey Smith died in a car accident Thursday, TMZ reported.

Smith was on I-240 just outside Oklahoma City when, according to reports, another man driving the wrong way on the interstate slammed head-on into Smith’s vehicle. Cops say the other driver was hospitalized and booked for DUI.

He’s the second “Idol” finalist to die. Season 7 finalist and former Buckhead denizen Michael Johns passed in 2014. Smith was 36.

I recall Smith, who finished eighth, most memorably for his delightfully funny “Hercules! Hercules!” imitation from “The Nutty Professor.” He was cut the week after Corey Clark was disqualified for not revealing his police record.

Sadly, this is the one performance I was able to find on YouTube from Smith on the show, titled “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today.”

After he was cut in 2003, he said, “This is like a dream come true. I just want to make sure nothing holds me back and I do the best that I can. I want to be known as the person who is genuine.”

A Go Fund Me site has been started by friends in Oklahoma City to raise money for his partner and two children. The goal is $10,000. As of Saturday morning, the goal was nearly reached.

His fellow season 2 contestants reacted accordingly after news of his death spread:


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