A finalist on American Idol has died in a road accident in the USA.

23-year-old Willie Spence died on Tuesday after hitting the rear of a tractor-trailer which was stopped on the hard shoulder near Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to news outlets which cited a Tennessee Highway Patrol report.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, and the trailer driver was not injured, the crash report said.

Spence, who was from Georgia, finished in second place on season 19 of American Idol last year.

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The singing competition show released a statement saying Spence "was a true talent who lit up every room he entered".

"We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence," the statement said. "We send our condolences to his loved ones."

Singer Luke Bryan, a judge on the show, said Spence "could change the mood instantly when he started singing".

"He will truly be missed," Bryan said on Twitter.