American Idol Runner-Up Willie Spence Dead at 23: Willie Spence, the runner-up on Season 19 of “American Idol” and a musician who gained notoriety as a kid for his cover of Rihanna’s popular song “Diamonds,” has passed away, the show announced on social media on Wednesday. He had age 23.
Willie Spence was a valued part of the “American Idol” family, and his passing has left us in shock, according to the description of a video of his “Idol” audition that was uploaded to the show’s official Instagram account. “He will be much missed. He was a tremendous talent who brightened up every place he visited. We offer our condolences to his family.”
According to CNN affiliate WSB and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the singer died in an automobile accident in Tennessee on Tuesday. According to the accident report, Spence was operating an SUV when he veered off the road and struck a vehicle that was parked on the shoulder.
A family member reportedly told TMZ that Spence passed away following a collision. The Spence team has been contacted by CNN. The native of West Palm Beach, Florida, moved to Georgia as a child along with his family. Spence was originally noticed while singing in his neighborhood high school.
Over 15 million people watched a 2017 video of him singing “Diamonds” in what appeared to be a school, which went viral.
He was invited to appear on Steve Harvey’s daytime talk program as a result of his performance. Spence was also selected to perform the song on his 2021 “American Idol” audition.
Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie were the judges, and Spence completely blew them away. Richie called Spence “unbelievable,” and Bryan said he did not want the singer’s performance to stop.
“In five years, what do you want it to look like when you think about your future and the voice you have because you know it stops people in their tracks, this is the magic you have?” Perry enquired of Spence. “If there was nothing in your way, what would you do in your wildest dreams?”
Spence responded, “I just want to share my gift with the world and let my voice be heard. “Winning a Grammy, hopefully someday. I anticipate being there in five years.”
Willie really did light up every room he walked into. He could change the mood instantly when he started singing. He will truly be missed. https://t.co/XTqm65UJu0
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) October 12, 2022
Katharine McPhee Foster, the fifth-season runner-up of “American Idol,” posted a tribute to Spence on her Instagram stories. Spence was one of the contestants she met there. Tonight, I learned terribly bad news. With a clip of her and Spence from the show, she said on her Instagram story.
Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. 23 years old just. Nothing is ever guaranteed, and life is so unfair. Willie, may God rest your soul. It was a pleasure getting to know you and singing with you.