American Idol’s Willie Spence Killed in a Car Accident at 23


American Idol season 19 runner-up Willie Spence has died in a car accident, according to a report from Douglas Now.

“DouglasNow has learned that Douglas native and American Idol Season 19 runner-up Willie Spence, 23, has passed away due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Tennessee,” the outlet wrote on Facebook “We have no further details at this time. We extend our condolences to Willie’s family, friends, and fans. He was an extraordinary talent and a ray of light to millions across the world. He will be missed.”

UPDATE: According to TMZ who spoke to a family member, Willie had a flat tire while on the road, but got it fixed and continued to drive home, from Tennessee to Atlanta. The sources says Willie crashed into a tractor trailer that was parked on the side of the road.

Willie’s last post on Instagram of him singing a gospel song, uploaded earlier on Tuesday,  is filling up with condolences from many of his American Idol alums and other blue checks. Eerily, Willie shot the video in his car. 


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A post shared by StarInTheMaking????? (@williespenceofficial)

UPDATE: American Idol alum Katharine McPhee who performed a duet of “The Prayer” with Willie during the Top 20 round, wrote a message on her Instagram stories. “I received very tragic news tonight,” Katharine wrote. “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.”

His friend, K Michelle posted a condolence message: “Honestly, i’m in shock. I’m in tears. My lord Willie. One of my favorite rebels, you just dm last week about my new single. It’s been years of you loving me and me loving you. I was so happy that the world got to experience that amazing gift you have. I’m really just done for tonight. This one hurts really bad! God why! R.I.p my baby @williespenceofficial I will always love your friend.”


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A post shared by K. Michelle (@kmichellemusic)

Willie became and American Idol fan-favorite with his soulful covers of Rihanna and more

Twenty-three year old Willie Spence delighted his fans on American Idol in 2021 with soulful performances. He specialized in gospel and big diva songs. A cover of “Diamonds” by Rihanna, sung while he was still in high school, went massively viral, which brought him to the attention of American Idol. He sang “Diamonds” for his audition. Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were all impressed.

Katy asked him where he sees himself in five years. “I just want my voice to reach the world, and share my gift. Hopefully winning a Grammy one day.” Lionel called him “an undeniable star.” A life with so much promise, ended too soon.

He finished the competition second behind winner Chayce Beckham. He’s been performing in concerts and planning to record new music.

Last May, he and 2nd runner-up Grace Kinstler performed a duet on the American Idol 20th anniversary special “The Great Idol Reunion.”

About mj santilli 33693 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. I’m going to hope this is untrue. It’s too sad to think otherwise.

  2. Oh wow this is SO sad if true! :( RIP to him. Hope it is wrong.

  3. But did they hear it from that one news source? Or did he learn the news from family?

    Just weird that no big outlets are reporting it yet.

  4. He is my husband’s first cousin, but I don’t know anymore than you do. We just received a call from my father in law who was his uncle last night. It’s a tragedy because he was a great person, loved by many.

  5. Think this is the first time we lost somebody from ABC Idol. We’ve lost a few from Fox Idol , The Voice , and AGT over the years

  6. What a shock. So sad. Idol needs to do right and acknowledge Willie in a In Memoriam next season.

  7. Man this one hurts, I’m in tears. Really connected with him on Idol. He had such a sweet soul and that powerful voice would give me chills. Deepest condolences to his family.

  8. So sad. I remember seeing a week or 2 ago that he was teasing new music. Such a talent and seemed like such a kind soul as well. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

  9. My fiancè just called and broke the news to me ?He never really got into American Idol, but we were watching the finale together last year both really enjoying Willie. So tragic and young. I hate this.

  10. Thank you so much the family is devastated. He was a sweetheart.

  11. Oh no…my mouth dropped open when I read this. Oh that is so, so sad. :(

  12. Read the TMZ update before commenting. I really hope what I think happened didn’t happen. Ironically I was thinking about Michael Johns the other day. His death is probably still the most shocking in the Idol bubble. And now Willie’s. RIP.

  13. Thank you so much. I t was definitely a tragic loss. He was living his dream and it sad they got cut short.

  14. This is horrific news for those of us who will miss Willie’s beautiful voice and loving essence, but, as my pastor told me when I was mourning a dear friend, a human being must pass from this life in order to get to heaven, and now he will be singing with the angels! Thank you, Willie, for blessing us here for a short time. You were amazing. My condolences to his family and friends…

  15. Since he had posted on Instagram from inside his car I had hoped it wasn’t distracted driving but the flat tire issue seems more plausible. Maybe the new/spare tire wasn’t secure…who knows…

  16. I’m thinking perhaps. ..fell asleep ? Medical emergency ?

    Veering off the road and crashing into a parked vehicle/tractor trailer is what I’ve read.

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