Singer Willie Spence astounded judges on American Idol this week with a beautiful rendition of Beyoncé’s hit ballad “I Was Here.”
His powerful singing was adored by judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie before they moved him on to the final group of 24.
“Words cannot describe what I’m feeling right now,” Spence told the judges as they let him know he would be moving forward.
According to the Macon Telegraph, Spence was considered a likely finalist after wowing judges and fans during his initial auditions. The final 24 were whittled down from a larger pool of 200 contestants on the show.
In a video that played before his performance, Spence and his family spoke about his medical troubles and his road to stardom.
He was in the hospital last year and said he was honored to have made it on to the American Idol stage after a rough year.
“All my life I’ve struggled with my weight, but this year, me being in the hospital really scared me. I thought I wasn’t gonna survive. Me being here has changed me a lot. And I know that God has given me a second chance and that I am here for a purpose,” he said.
“I need this. Not only for me, but for my family,” he added.
The judges lauded him for his singing ability and performance, noting how astounded they were with his story and his talent.
“You’ve got to let go of all the noise. You’ve got to suit up, do the work [and] stay focused,” Perry told him.
“We feel like your life is going to change in amazing ways,” Bryan said.
Richie, tuning in virtually due to COVID-19, called Spence and his performance “powerful.”
“Me being here has changed me a lot, and I know that God has given me a second chance and that I am here for a purpose,” Spence said.
The show is in its 19th season after switching from Fox to ABC in the 16th season. The season started in February.