By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.”
His fellow season 2 contestants reacted accordingly after news of his death spread:
As I sit here in utter disbelief about the fact that you went to be with the Lord. I think back on all the fun times we had. How we set up for hours in our room in the Idol Mansion talking and listening to music. How much fun we all had on our very first tour. You were the heart of our season and the true definition of a real friend.. I will miss you my Friend RIP Ricky Smith. I'm sure you're in heaven singing you're heart out!!!
My heart is broken that we lost my dear angel Rickey. He was one-of-kind. I have never met anyone that could brighten your world like he did. I was so fortunate to share the time we had together on Idol and on tour. I will cherish those memories. He made everyone around him feel so special and loved and my heart sincerely goes out to his family. He was a shining light and he will be missed tremendously. #season2