American Idol

Leah LaBelle, husband killed in high-speed crash


Rasual Butler and Leah LaBelle

Rasual Butler and Leah LaBelle, from American Idol Season 3.

Former American Idol finalist Leah LaBelle has died, the victim of an automobile accident that also claimed the life of her husband.

The Associated Press reported that the crash occurred at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in Los Angeles when former NBA player Rasual Butler lost control of the Range Rover in which he and his wife were traveling.

The vehicle jumped a curb, hit three parking meters and a concrete wall and then flipped over twice before coming to rest in a shopping mall parking lot, police said.

Police cited speed as a factor in the crash.

Leah was 31. In 2003, at age 16, she auditioned for Season 3 of American Idol. She made it to the finals thanks to a wild card save from Paul Abdul, but was the first of the finalists eliminated, heading home in 12th place.

Eight years after her Idol run, Leah resurfaced with a trio of singles — “What Have We Got To Lose,” “Sexify” and “Lolita” — with Epic Records and was reportedly working on a debut album with L.A. Reid (yep, the former X Factor judge) and Pharrell Williams.

“Lolita” hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s dance club songs chart, but the album never materialized.

Butler, 38 at the time of his death, spent 14 years in the NBA after being drafted by the Miami Heat in 2002. He wound up playing for eight times during that career, enjoying his best season in 2009-2010 when he averaged 11.9 points per game with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Here’s Leah’s audition, followed by the music videos

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