Former “American Idol” semifinalist CJ Harris, who appeared on Season 13, has died suddenly at 31. Harris reportedly had a heart attack in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama, on Sunday, sources told TMZ. He passed away after being rushed to the Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper, Alabama.
Harris had memorably auditioned for the American Idol in 2014, bringing the house down with an electrifying performance of the Allman Brothers Band’s hit “Soulshine.” At the time, judge Keith Urban told the aspiring vocalist: “You sing because 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.” Harris also performed other hit covers on the show, including “Too Close,” “American Woman” and “Free Fallin.’ ”
Harris was selected as a wild card in the semifinals after not receiving enough votes. He made it all the way to the Top 6 before getting eliminated. He played for audiences in the competition show’s season 13 tour, and saw success after his “Idol” stint, notably performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Darius Rucker, whom he credited for influencing his style. Harris released the single “In Love” in 2019 and regularly shared videos of him singing and playing guitar on TikTok and Instagram. Last October, he wrote on Facebook that he was working on new music in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.