Willie Spence may have what it takes to win American Idol and a Grammy, too.
When the 21-year-old performed for the judges’ on the show, they were so blown away with his rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna, that when Spence said his five-year dream would be to win a Grammy, Luke Bryan said that was certainly “attainable.”
Lionel Richie told the hopeful, “Willie, you demonstrated exactly what we were looking for. You just brought the artist to the table. And, honestly, you’re an undeniable star.”
He continued, “You, my friend, are so gifted that on the first note, I had chills.”
Bryan added, “When you sing, I see your lifetime. To watch someone sing from a place that I strive to sing from…” He also called Spence a “special, special human being.”
Unsurprisingly, Spence was given a golden ticket and will be continuing on to Hollywood, where fans believe there’s a high chance of him dominating the competition.
Here’s what you need to know:
The 21-Year-Old Is From Georgia
Spence hails from Georgia, and this isn’t his first success with “Diamonds.” In high school, according to WSBTV, Spence sang the Rihanna song and it went viral. To date, it’s raked in over 11 million views.
Speaking to the outlet, Spence said, “I chose that song again because that song helped me in the beginning and I will never forget that song. So, that was really easy for me to do.”
Around the time that the video went viral, however, Spence started to face some health problems. “The doctors told me that they found fluid in my lungs. I weighed 600 pounds,” Spence said.
After months of hard work, Spence lost nearly 200 pounds.
He tells the outlet, “My family, my parents, my grandparents you know they sacrificed a lot for me to have this moment and to chase my dreams.”
The Competition This Season
While Spence is certainly going to give other contestants a run for their money, this season has welcomed a number of talented singers from across the country.
And that’s not even taking into account Anilee List’s 1.3 million views.
In October 2020, Deadline announced that Idol would head into production on its fourth season for ABC. Due to covid restrictions, the show filmed at a number of locations in California instead of shooting across the country.
At the time, Deadline wrote, “Cast and crew are all being tested in accordance with local, state, union and industry guidelines from organizations including the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), federal, state, local government and health agencies and medical professionals. There will also be social distancing on set and cast and crew will be required to wear masks when not on camera.”
American Idol airs Sundays on ABC at 8pm ET/PT.