‘American Idol’ Community ‘Heartbroken’ Over Death of Beloved Finalist

The sudden death of Grammy-winning Gospel singer Mandisa has stunned the “American Idol” community, from singers who appeared with her during season 5 to fellow alumni who were touched by her work and life.

Mandisa appeared on “Idol” in 2006 as a Top 9 finalist. She went on to become a leading Gospel artist, topping the charts with her debut album and later winning two Grammys, per People.

The singer and author was found dead at her home in Franklin, Tennessee, on April 18, 2024, at age 47, her team confirmed via social media the following day. Franklin police told the Tennessean an active investigation into a death at her residence is underway.

In reaction to her death, “American Idol” issued a statement on social media that said, “Mandisa was an adored icon on American Idol and in the music industry. She had become a platinum-selling artist and had won several Grammys for her music. Her passing has left everyone on the show heartbroken, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”

Many “Idol” alums and other stars who knew and loved Mandisa have shared their grief, too.

‘American Idol’ Stars Pay Tribute to Mandisa on Social Media

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Many season 5 finalists who performed with Mandisa on “Idol” shared their grief over her death.

Taylor Hicks, who won the season, posted an Instagram photo of himself with Mandisa and wrote, “Mandisa was a power house vocalist on our season of Idol and she graduated to a wonderful career in Gospel music. Better yet, she was a power house person and all of us will miss her dearly.”

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Katharine McPhee, who was the season 5 runner-up, posted a throwback photo with Mandisa in her Instagram Stories and wrote, “She was my building light all through idol and my first tour. She kept all of us grounded. She was the most amazing Godly woman with the biggest heart. Sang at my first wedding and brought everyone to tears. Heaven just gained an angel. Heartbroken over this. Fly high, friend. I’ll remember you forever. 🤍🕊️”

Chris Daughtry, who took sixth place during season 5, left several emoji on the “American Idol” post to express his emotions: “💔 💔😢😢🙏🏻🙏🏻”

Fellow finalist Paris Bennett also posted an Instagram photo of her singing with Mandisa on “Idol” and shared, “Mandisa bugging you and movie nights in your hotel room Lisa and I…. Man your laugh and the best hugs ever!! I so appreciate the light you shared with all of us. I will miss you 😢 💗 Rest in Paradise @mandisaofficial”

Elliott Yamin, who placed third on season 5, wrote a lengthy tribute to Mandisa on Instagram.

As part of his message, he shared, “Sweet Mandisa! I don’t even know where to start because this one hits too close to home. I’m so deeply saddened to wake up to this news of your passing this morning! Mandisa was a constant beacon of light and hope and positivity with/for EVERY single human she encountered.”

Many Other ‘American Idol’ Stars Have Shared Their Grief Over Losing Mandisa, Too

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“Idol” stars beyond season 5 contestants also shared their shock and sadness over Mandisa’s death.

Captioning an Instagram photo of Mandisa, season 2 winner Ruben Studdard wrote, “RIP to one of the best to ever grace the @americanidol state. Your legacy and music will live on forever!!”

Season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson, who became one of the show’s most successful alums, commented on the “Idol” Instagram post, “So sorry to hear this news.”

Paula Abdul, who was a judge when Mandisa competed on the show, issued a statement to People that said, “Her warmth and unwavering kindness towards everyone, even in the face of harsh criticism, was truly unmatched. Not only was she a beautiful person, but she was also a true powerhouse performer.”

Abdul continued, “I still think of her taking the stage during ‘American Idol’ to perform her rendition of Chaka Khan’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ and absolutely brought the house down. I’ll always remember her poise, grace and dignity — and how could anyone forget those incomparable vocals! Wishing her family and those closest to her healing in remembering this radiant woman.”

Danny Gokey, who became a contemporary Christian artist after coming in third place on season 8, paid tribute to Mandisa with multiple posts on various platforms.

In one tweet, he posted a duet he sang with Mandisa and wrote, “In loving memory of my friend, @mandisaoffical …Life is short,” he wrote in a separate tweet, sharing a video of them singing a duet together. “Never waste the opportunity to share the love of Jesus. You never know when it will be their last. #TellSomebody #LifeIsShort #ShareLove #ShareJesus #NoRegrets #Mandisa #DannyGokey”

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On Instagram, he posted photos of them together backstage and, as part of a lengthy tribute seen above, Gokey shared, “Not only did we connect over being American Idol alumni—we had a great time on the road doing several tours together.”

Season 11 alum Colton Dixon, who’s also become a popular Christian artist, shared a lengthy tribute to Mandisa on Instagram, reflecting on tours they performed on together, and he included the audio from a voice message she once left for him and his wife, Annie.

Among the many stars beyond “American Idol” who expressed their sadness about Mandisa’s death was “GMA” anchor Robin Robins, who tweeted a video of Mandisa performing on the morning show in 2017 when she returned to the show following a lengthy medical leave.

Robins wrote, “My heart is heavy hearing about Mandisa. Incredibly blessed that she was there my first day back on ⁦@GMA following my long medical leave. Her beautiful music & spirit lifted me and countless others. Sending prayers & love to her family. 🙏🏾❤️”

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