Georgia favorite makes top 12 in American Idol, competes next for spot in top 9

ATLANTA — A Georgia singer has made the top 12 on ‘American Idol.’ Willie Spence of Douglas in Coffee County moved to the next round on Channel 2 thanks to viewers votes.

He belted out his powerful version of Rihanna’s “Shine Bright Like a Diamond,” which was his audition song. The judges were very impressed by his performance.

“You came in as a diamond in the rough and now you are brilliant,” said singer Katy Perry.

Will Willie earn a spot in the top 9? It’s up to America’s votes! Watch all-new episode of American Idol with LIVE voting Sunday at 8 p.m. on Channel 2.

Spence grew up in Douglas, Georgia and lives in the Dunwoody area now. When he was in high school in Coffee County, a video of Spence singing “Diamonds” quickly went viral racking up over 11 million views.

“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,” Spence told Catlin.

That video earned him some national recognition, but then he started to face some serious health issues.

“The doctors told me that I had they found fluid in my lungs. I weighed 600 pounds,” Spence said.

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Spence went to work and lost close to 200 pounds. He’s still on his weight loss journey and finally able to really pursue his dream, not just for himself but his family too.

“My family, my parents, my grandparents you know they sacrificed a lot for me to have this moment and to chase my dreams,” he said.

Willie Spence shines bright like a diamond 💎 on the #AmericanIdol stage with this performance!

Posted by American Idol on Monday, April 12, 2021