American Idol Finalists Are Dying at an Alarming Rate [Full List]


A full list of American Idol stars who’ve died includes eight Top 12 finalists, one third place finisher and a runner-up.

Season 5 and Season 7 seem particularly cursed.

Mandisa’s (Season 5, ninth place) recent death follows tragedies that befell Katharine McPhee (her nanny was killed in a car accident last year) and Kellie Pickler (husband Kyle Jacobs died by suicide in February of 2023). Before that, there was a woman who’d auditioned and then died on judge Paula Abdul’s doorstep.

Related: 10 American Idol Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know

Michael Johns is the only Season 7 finalist who’s died, but two more very memorable contestants also passed away post-show. Here’s more information on a startling (if unexplainable) trend:

  • 21 completed seasons of American Idol have produced 252 Top 12 finalists.
  • Eight (or 3.2 percent) have died in the last 10 years.
  • Statista reports the average death rate for Americans aged 15 to 54 in 2020 was between .045 and .6 percent.

Vehicle accident deaths are most common on the list below, with four of these 12 American Idol singers dying in a car or motorcycle crash. Several more died seemingly at random via a brain aneurysm or heart attack.

You’ll also find drug and alcohol related deaths among these dozen artists. All were remembered fondly by fellow American Idol alumni like Ruben Studdard, Chayce Beckham and Justin Guarini. Through the sadness, you’ll find a true community among these talented singers.

Gone but not forgotten has rarely been so true.

12 ‘American Idol’ Stars Who’ve Died

You’ll find eight Top 12 finalists on this list of American Idol stars who’ve died. That includes a runner-up, a third place finisher and several more artists fans loved rooting for.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

10 ‘American Idol’ Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know

Iam Tongi may have won Season 21 of American Idol, but he was not the show’s real winner. This list of 10 American Idol secrets includes a look into his future, as well as a peek behind the curtain of America’s most successful reality television show.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes





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