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'American Idol' notes: Leah LaBelle dead, Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin

Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

"American Idol" season 3 singer Leah LaBelle and her husband ex-NBA player Rasual Butler died in a single car crash Wednesday morning, TMZ reported

Officers believe the car was speeding before it lost control.  Butler had a long NBA career after an impressive run at La Salle -- where he was a 2-time First Team All-Atlantic 10 Player. He's a member of the La Salle Hall of Athletics.

LaBelle finished in 12th place season three, the year Fantasia won. Her YouTube page hasn't been updated in six years. She was signed to Epic Records for a time.

She was a Seattle high school student in 2003 when she tried out for "Idol." She was a wild-card in the semi-finals and Paula Abdul picked her for the top 12. Simon Cowell wasn't a fan, saying she was not quite a star.

Her top 12 performance was so bad, even Paula couldn't say much nice. "Pack your bags," Simon said. "You're going home." (Yup. Simon was still a hard arse back in the day!)

Here's her song "Sexify" from 2012.


Hollywood Week last week ended up with 40 to 45 singers but "Idol" plans to cut it down to top 24. They will perform before a live audience on Feb. 8. More details here. 


And check out sweet Kelly Clarkson in this promo for the next season of "The Voice":


Jennifer Hudson is going to star in an Aretha Franklin biopic.

MGM acquired the rights to the story, based on Franklin's memoir. Clive Davis, at his annual pre-Grammy gala said Franklin hand-picked Hudson.

RELATED: Coverage of that vaunted Clive Davis party by our very own Melissa Ruggieri

She can certainly sing Aretha, as evidenced by this performance on "The Voice UK," where she is a judge a second time. She joins Tom Jones ("She's So Unusual," "What's New Pussycat?") in "I Never Loved a Man."


Carrie Underwood's hubby has decided not to retire after all. Mike Fisher a few months ago said he was leaving the NHL and the Nashville Predators. But he changed his mind.

"This is happening! Fish is back! So proud of you, baby! We want the cup!!!" Underwood wrote on Twitter, retweeting the team's official announcement.

He had a very respectable 17-year career with two teams as a center. 


Clay Aiken's Tweet of the week:

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.