Former "American Idol" finalist Rickey Smith was killed Thursday night in a multi-car highway wreck in Oklahoma.
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.
Smith competed on the second season of 'Idol,' and finished in eighth place. Ruben Studdard took the title that year.
The media giant behind "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" has filed for bankruptcy, and part of the problem is ... 'Idol' was hemorrhaging money in its final seasons.
Core Media Group filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday morning saying it's several hundred million dollars in the hole, and needs to reorganize its debts. Core and all its subsidiaries say they have $73 million in assets, but more than $512 million in debt.
One of its biggest creditors is 'Idol' creator Simon Fuller, who is owed more than $3.3 million. Several law firms and music labels, as well as the FOX Network are also owed dough.
Core Media's filing includes many of its holdings, including 19 Entertainment which owns the recording rights of 'Idol' superstars like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.
In the bankruptcy docs, Core says revenue started sliding after 2012 when 'Idol' ratings started declining. For instance in 2014, earnings dropped $15 million from the previous year.
Two people responsible for putting "American Idol" on the map are definitely returning for the final shows, and we don't mean Kelly Clarkson and Simon Cowell.
Yes, they'll be there too ... but more importantly, original 'Idol' co-host Brian Dunkleman will open the show and crowd favorite William Hung will sing on Thursday's series finale ... TMZ has learned.
That's not all ... we're told the show's trying to bring back every 'AI' winner and most of the top 3 from all 15 seasons for a big performance. No small feat, considering some of the superstars that would involve.
Clarkson's appearance will be pre-taped since she's about to pop with baby number 2.
On the host side ... we're told Simon's a shoo-in -- along with Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson -- even though he's claimed it wouldn't fit in his schedule.
Clay Aiken went on an incredibly bitchy tirade Wednesday night, zeroing in on "American Idol," the show that made him famous and gave him opportunities.
The second place, second season contestant went on a Twitter rant, starting with a high school-like diss ... "Watching @americanidol for the first time in a decade," suggesting he's been too busy.
He goes on ... "Well .... now I know why the ratings are down."
It didn't stop there ... Aiken mused, "Oh good Lord ... those boring ass responses from the judges? Where is Simon when you need him. That guy need a hook to pull him off stage."
And then there's this ... "I've watched root canals more entertaining than these judges."
And he ends this way ... "When your favorite team that you've cheered for years happens to play a s****y game, you're absolutely allowed to be upset by it." Interesting he's cheered, because he started by saying he hasn't bothered to watch the show in 10 years.
4:35 PM PST -- Joey tells TMZ she had the marijuana to treat her epilepsy. She apologizes to her fans for any inconvenience caused from the arrest and says she'll be more cautious of state laws when traveling in the future. Joey says she'll be at her show in Denver tonight. "American Idol" contestant Joey Cook just got served by the long arm of the law ... getting busted for weed in a Wyoming airport.
Cook was arrested early Friday morning in Rock Springs, WY for possession of marijuana. She spent a brief 5 hours in jail before getting in front of the judge. Court officials tell us Joey paid a $240 fine and was put on 12 months of probation.
TSA found the pot in her luggage as she was trying to fly outta town. She's on tour and has a show in Denver Friday night.
Joey finished in 7th place on the last season of the show.
Marque Lynche -- the former Mouseketeer found dead in his apartment -- got into a bizarre fight with an NYPD officer ... just a few months before he passed away.
The ex-Mouseketeer and former "American Idol" semi-finalist illegally jumped a subway turnstile back in August and when cops approached him ... he lashed out, punching one of them in the face and smashing him in the head with a bottle of soda.
Lynche was charged with assault. There's no mention of drugs or alcohol in the police docs.
34-year-old Marque died before the case went to trial. There's no cause of death yet, toxicology results are pending.
One of Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling's former 'All New Mickey Mouse Club' co-stars was found dead in his NYC apartment ... TMZ has learned.
According to law enforcement sources Marque "Tate" Lynche's roommate found him on Sunday afternoon. He was only 34 years old. The medical examiner's office conducted an exam of the body on Monday, but hasn't determined a cause of death yet.
Lynche was a Mousketeer from 1993 to 1995 -- and shared the camera with Britney, Ryan, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. He later appeared on Season 3 of "American Idol" and made it to the semi-finals.
Former "American Idol"contestant Corey Clark's arrest was the result of a conspiracy -- set in place by his estranged wife and her detective stepfather ... at least that's what Clark is claiming now.
Clark got busted September 23 in Yuma, AZ, and was eventually charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. But Tuesday in L.A. he told us the whole thing was a revenge plot.
Clark says he'd filed a report against Monica Clark just prior to his arrest, claiming she was violating their child custody agreement. Clark thinks it's no coincidence he was arrested right after that, especially because his wife's stepfather is a Yuma PD detective.
We've reached out to Yuma PD for a response ... so far, no word back.