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'American Idol' Finalist Killed In Car Crash

5/6/2016 9:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0506-ricky-smith-crash-fox-01Former "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.

Rickey was 36. 

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'American Idol' Parent Company Goes Bankrupt Show Became a Money Pit

4/28/2016 11:06 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0428_american_idol_so_you_think_you_can_dance_gettyThe 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.

Simon Cowell No Marriage Talk In Front of My Baby Mama!!

4/8/2016 6:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Simon Cowell got put on blast when a paparazzo dared to bring up the "M" word while Simon's girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, was feet away -- and you gotta see the ex-'Idol' judge's reaction.

Truth is ... this clip is weird all around. Cowell was partying at Ago in West Hollywood after the "American Idol" finale, but did NOT seem like the guy America came to love/hate.

He talked about crappy old 'Idol' wannabes, replacing Howard Stern and even baby diapers -- and not ONE negative word from the guy ... until the whole marriage thing came up.

Watch ... there's still a little of old Simon in there.

'American Idol' Series Finale Hung, Dunkleman Returning!!

4/5/2016 12:54 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0805_William-Hung_Brian-Dunkleman_gettyTwo 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.

We're told the plan is he'll surprise Ryan Seacrest. Oops. 

J Lo Hang Loose

3/11/2016 9:59 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

031116-jennifer-lopez-ugly-dress-wennThe usually flawless Jennifer Lopez finally made a questionable wardrobe decision during a recent taping of "American Idol."

The color screams failed bridesmaid dress -- and it's way too loose on her -- but thankfully the curves underneath are still 100% Jenny from the block. 

Kelly Clarkson Disneyland Trek Before Baby Drop

2/25/2016 11:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0225_kelly_clarkson_disney_launch_3Kelly Clarkson was a trooper Wednesday, braving the crowds and the 80 degree heat as she trudged through Disneyland ... 9 months pregnant!

Kelly hit all the hots spots ... Small World, Autopia, Tomorrowland, the works. She had a VIP handler but no entourage.

Kelly's due any day. What we don't know ... whether she's walking a lot to induce labor.  

Assuming all the walking didn't do the trick, she's supposed to appear as a guest judge and performer Thursday night on "American Idol."

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Ungrateful Clay Aiken Trashes 'American Idol'

1/7/2016 6:03 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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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.

Gratitude ... it's not for everyone.

'American Idol' Star Joey Cook Busted for Weed on Tour

12/18/2015 10:41 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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update_graphic_red_bar4:35 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. update_grey_gray_bar"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.

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Ex-Mouseketeer Arrested for Punching Cop ... Months Before Death

12/14/2015 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1207-mickey-mouse-club-marque-lynche-dead-disney-7Marque 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. 

Ex Mousketeer Dies at 34

12/7/2015 4:43 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

1207-mickey-mouse-club-marque-lynche-dead-DISNEY-02One 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.

'American Idol' Star Corey Clark I'm An Uber Driver Now!!!

10/23/2015 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Some "American Idol" alums play Madison Square Garden ... Corey Clark drives an Uber.

Our photog spotted Clark behind the wheel of what looks like an UberX in Bev Hills. Corey made it seem he was going to an important meeting, but the big sticker in the window suggested otherwise ...

He eventually comes around. Hey, who needs Madison Square Garden when you got a Chevy?

Kanye West I Want to be the Last 'American Idol'

10/11/2015 6:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

1011-kanye-american-idol-INSTAGRAM-01Kanye West was so pumped and confident after performing for Prez Obama, he mustered up the courage to audition to become the very last American Idol.

Yeezy must have figured since he was in SFO anyway, why not go down the road where JLo, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban, who were holding auditions for their show.

Kanye performed as Kim Kardashian memorialized it all on camera.

The judges made it look like it was all one big surprise, and it might have been ... but then again, it wouldn't hurt ratings to watch Kim's hubby on "A.I."

Goin' out with a bang. 

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Ex 'Idol' Corey Clark I Got Railroaded By My Wife's Stepdad ... He's the Cop Behind My Arrest

10/7/2015 10:08 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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.

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