Rickey Smith, a contestant from the second season of ‘American Idol,’ is dead, leaving fans of the show sad over such a senseless tragedy. As authorities uncover more details of his shocking death, here are 5 things to know about Rickey.
Another star has fallen, as Rickey Smith, the 36-year-old singer from American Idol, has been killed in a horrible car crash. Fans who remember his sultry voice and never-ending smile are mourning the loss, so get to know more about the man who helped make Idol such a legendary show.
1. Rickey worked as a teacher when American Idol came calling.
Rickey’s death from a multi-car crash on May 5 was the tragic end of a brief period in the spotlight. He studied Performance while attending Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas. He was working as a teacher when he auditioned for the second season of American Idol in 2002, wowing the judges enough to book him on a trip to Los Angeles.
2. He was classically trained as a singer!
Rickey began singing when he was only five years old, according to Buddy TV, but he didn’t really take it seriously until he was 18. He had a wide variety of musical interests – from classic rock icons Led Zeppelin to Brian McKnight. However, Rickey loved opera and was even trained to sing it!
3. He had a decent showing during American Idol.
Though Rickey had charmed the judges, the audience fell in love with other singers like Clay Aiken, 37, and the season’s ultimate winner, Ruben Studdard, 37. Rickey didn’t have enough votes to advance, but the judges brought him back as a Wild Card pick. After joining the Top 12, Rickey ultimately finished eighth.
4. Though he didn’t win, he had fun!
Though Rickey was eliminated, he had a blast while he was on the program. He was known for his bright smile, per TV Line. He also would chant “Hercules! Hercules!” during the program, a line from Eddie Murphy’s remake of The Nutty Professor. Rickey’s highlight came when he donned an Afro wig to bust out Earth, Wind & Fire’s disco hit, “Let’s Groove.”
5. Life after Idol wasn’t glamorous for Rickey – but he made peace with it.
Rickey hung around L.A. for a couple of years after Idol, but when he was running out of cash, he moved back to Oklahoma. “I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I had to come back and give up music,” Rickey said during an interview with USA Today in 2008.
“I’ve made peace with it, but it’s still frustrating.” During the talk, Rickey was tending bar at Coach’s Bricktown in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Still, he was considered a hometown hero, as he said, “Anywhere I go, they tell me I’m still a celebrity. I appreciate that.”
Our thoughts continue to go out to Rickey’s family and friends during this heartbreaking time of loss.