‘American Idol’ Season 19 Runner-Up Dies At 23

williespenceofficial via Instagram

You may remember Willie Spence from Season 19 of the singing competition “American Idol.” His audition was so impressive that the judges unanimously voted “yes” to send him to the next round. After hearing him sing “Diamonds” during the audition, Lionel Richie called him an “undeniable star.” He added, “I can not tell you how excited I am to have you join us on this show.”

Katy Perry asked Spence where he would like to be in five years, and he answered that he wants to win a Grammy. Luke Bryan told him, “That Grammy is attainable. No doubt in my mind.”

Spence went on to be the runner up during season 19 of the singing competition. That was in 2021, and it was hardly the end of his singing career. Earlier in 2022, he teased that he was working on an EP, and he also told Ryan Seacrest that he was going to get to sing for Queen Elizabeth II in 2023. He was very excited about getting to travel overseas.

Obviously, singing for the Queen will never happen since she died earlier this year, but winning a Grammy won’t happen either.

Spence died in a car accident on Tuesday October 11, 2022. According to his family, his car had a flat tire, but he got it fixed. Later that same day, he was driving from Tennessee to his home in Atlanta when he crashed his car into a tractor trailer on the side of the road. He was only 23 years old.

Just hours before the fatal crash, Spence posted his very last social media post. It was a video of him in his car, singing the song “Lord you are my hiding place” with all of his heart.

Upon hearing the news of his death, Katherine McPhee, the “American Idol” runner up from season 5 of the show, shared her condolences on social media. In her Instagram stories, she wrote, “I received very tragic news tonight. Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. Only 23 years old. Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised. God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”

“American Idol” has tweeted condolences, writing “We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence.”

You can relive the moment Spence caught the attention of the “American Idol” judges during the audition process in the video below.