‘American Idol’ Alum CJ Harris Dies at 31

American Idol

Getty Former 'American Idol' Contestant CJ Harris has died.

Former “American Idol” contestant CJ Harris is dead at 31 years old, according to a Monday, January 16, 2023, report by TMZ.

The outlet reports that Harris died after an apparent heart attack on Sunday, January 15, 2023, after being taken to the hospital in Jasper, Alabama.

Harris was a contestant on “American Idol” in 2014 for season 13 of the show. The judges were Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. Harris made it through Hollywood Week and was voted through most of the live shows before ultimately being eliminated at the end of the Top 6 round when he sang “American Woman” and “Whatever It Is.”


CJ Harris Was Still Singing & Performing

Harris never gave up on his dream after his time on “American Idol.” The singer-songwriter still regularly posted videos of himself performing and recording songs on his social media channels.

The singer-songwriter shared photos from the 2022 Frog Level in Fayette, Alabama, on January 13, 2023.

His last singing Instagram post featured himself playing the guitar and harmonica while covering the song “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. It was uploaded on December 27, 2022.

Harris was even teasing new music just two weeks before his death. On January 1, the singer wrote on Facebook, “Happy New Years! New music coming soon.”


CJ Harris Released His First Single in 2019


In Love By CJ Harris2020-03-17T15:50:19Z

Harris had multiple songs come out of his time on “American Idol.” His performances of “Invisible,” “If It Hadn’t Been for Love,” “Soulshine,” “Free Fallin’,” “Gravity” and “American Woman” were all released as non-album singles during his time on “American Idol.”

His debut single, “In Love,” was released in 2019.

During Harris’s audition for “American Idol” in 2014, the star sang “Soulshine,” most famously performed by The Allman Brothers Band.

“I think there’s probably better guitar players around, I think there’s probably better singers around, but there’s something around the entirety of what you are,” Connick Jr. told the contestant after his performance. “It’s really kind of a vibe that you have. You’re very pleasant. You had my attention for the entire performance.”

Urban told Harris, “You sing ’cause you have to sing, not ’cause you want to sing. And, I mean that in the deepest way. And that’s why it’s so believable and real.”

He earned three yes votes for his performance and moved on to Hollywood Week.

He was eventually selected as the wild card by the judges after not receiving enough votes to move forward in the competition. Then, he made it through to the top 6 before not receiving enough votes to move forward once again.

After his time on “American Idol,” Harris made his Grand Ole Opry debut alongside Darius Rucker, went on to participate in the “American Idol” season 13 live tour, and moved to Nashville to continue pursuing his singing career.

Harris is not the only “American Idol” alum to die at a young age recently. Willie Spence, who was a fan-favorite contestant and runner-up on season 20 of “American Idol,” died due to injuries from a car accident at 23 years old in October 2022.

“American Idol” is set to return in February 2023 with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

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