Former American Idol contestant Haley Smith reportedly died over the weekend after a motorcycle crash in Maine, her father said. She was 26. She died early Saturday morning in Millinocket, Maine; TMZ reports that police said it appears she failed to make a sharp turn along a residential road that becomes a highway in certain sections. She was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith's father, Mike Smith, told the news outlet that she was riding on a country road and that her family believes a deer could have caused the crash. Mike implied she was a good motorcycle driver and doubted that she simply lost control of her bike.
Smith was only on Idol briefly in 2012, when she auditioned in Colorado during Season 11. She made it to Hollywood but was cut after the second round of eliminations, although she left an impression on judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler when she sang a folksy rendition of Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good."
'American Idol' Contestant Haley Smith Dies in Motorcycle Accident https://t.co/AVSm4eXXqx— TMZ (@TMZ) September 3, 2019
Steven said it was an honor to hear her sing, adding that she was out of his "era" with her look and sound.
American Idol was canceled after 15 season on Fox in 2015; it has since been revived by ABC with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan along with longtime host Ryan Seacrest. The singing competition is heading into its 18th season — its third on ABC — set to premiere in 2020.
The show has been in the news lately after former contestant Antonella Barba pleaded guilty to drug possession charges last month, and faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. The maximum she could be sentenced to is a life sentence and $110 million in fines.
Barba appeared on Season 6 of Idol in 2007, reaching the top 16 before she was eliminated. She competed on an episode of Fear Factor, and also appeared in 2018 on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live for a segment featuring Idol alumni titled "Where Are They Now?"
She was arrested in October 2018 during a drug investigation by police in Virginia. When she was arrested, police found her with nearly two pounds of fentanyl in her possession, which The Virginian-Pilot reported was enough to kill 415,000 people, based on statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
After her release on $50,000 bond, she was arrested again in February 2019 and charged with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of conspiracy.