Former “American Idol” finalist Willie Spence died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a car accident in Tennessee, according to Georgia news outlet Douglas Now. He is 23 years old.
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The fan favorite contestant “Idol” came second in the 19th season of the competition program last year. Chayce Beckham won.
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Fellow “American Idol” alum Katharine McPhee, who mentored and performed with Spence in Season 19, mourned the singer Tuesday on Instagram.
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“I had some very sad news this evening,” McPhee wrote. “Life is unfair and promises nothing. God rest your soul, Willie. I’m glad to sing with you and know you.”
The “Smash” star also shared a video Spence posted on Instagram “before his accident.” In the clip, Spence belts out Selah’s “You Are My Hiding Place” in his car.
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“We are devastated by the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence,” read a statement on the “American Idol” Instagram page. “He was a real talent who lit up every room he walked into and he will be greatly missed. We send our condolences to his loved ones.”
“I love you Willie,” “American Idol” panelist Katy Perry said in the post. “Pureest soul. Sing with the angels my love.”
During his “American Idol” audition, the singer from Douglas, Ga., wowed the celebrity judges with a powerful performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” After giving him a standing ovation, Lionel Richie hailed Spence as “an undeniable star,” while Luke Bryan considered him “a special person.”
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“You, my friend, are very talented,” said Richie. “On the first note, I was nervous. … That was a fun session to watch.”
In April 2021, Spence released his first EP, “The Voice,” followed by the singles “Never Be Alone” and “The Living Years.”
“I want my voice to reach the world and share my gift,” she told the judges at her “Idol” audition.
“I hope to win a Grammy one day, that’s where I see myself in five years. … It’s going to take hard work, but I think I can do it.”
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Christi Carras is an entertainment reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He was previously an intern at the Times after graduating from UCLA and has also worked at Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and CNN. Disappeared immediately. While many new musicians have had their big break on the American Idol stage over the years, some have lost their lives shortly afterwards.
Nikki McKibbin, who appeared alongside Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini in season 1, died in November 2020 aged 42. The Fear Factor alumnus, who finished third in the first season of the competition in 2002, suffered a brain aneurysm a few weeks earlier. his death.
“She’s gone, but she was an organ donor and was kept on life support to do that,” McKibbin’s husband, Craig Sadler, wrote via Facebook at the time. “That should not surprise us. Even at the end he still gives. He was so loved that I know thousands of you will mourn with us. There are only a few hours left for me to hold his hand and kiss his forehead.”
McKibbin – who returned to the reality TV show in 2014 when her son Tristen Langley auditioned – was later honored by Guarini.
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“@realnikkimckibbin is a warm, funny woman who can sing the Hell out of a rock song with the same ease and command she lovingly uses to tear you down with her wit little southerner,” the Broadway vet – who came in second behind Clarkson – wrote via Instagram after the death of his former rival. “Even in our 20s when we were together on American Idol, I knew he had a challenging life, and that a lot of people weren’t kind to him along the way. … After the kind of emotional beating who took it at the hands of the masses over there, he deserves to feel good about himself, just for a moment Rest well, ‘Gypsy’…and thank you for the funny teasing, ruthlessness, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me our time together in the spotlight.
McKibbin isn’t the only American Idol alum to die after their reality TV tenure. Us Weekly confirmed in August 2019 that Haley Smith was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.
Smith, who was auditioning for the season 11 judges panel, was pronounced dead by police at the scene in Millinocket, Maine, after failing to make a turn while riding his motorcycle.
The late Utah native impressed Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson in 2012 with his folksy rendition of “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan.
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“We are saddened to hear of Haley Smith’s passing and our thoughts and prayers are with her family,” read a tweet from the show’s official account after news of her death hit the headlines.
“@realnikkimckibbin is a warm, funny woman who can sing the Hell out of a rock song with the same ease and command she lovingly uses to tear you down with her wit little southerner,” the Broadway vet – who came in second behind Clarkson – wrote via Instagram after the death of his former rival. “Even in our 20s when we were together on American Idol, I knew he had a challenging life, and that a lot of people weren’t kind to him along the way. … After the kind of emotional beating who took it at the hands of the masses, he deserves to feel good about himself, just for a moment Rest well, ‘Gypsy’…and thank you for the funny teasing, ruthlessness, strength, weakness, love and a friendship shown to me during our time together in the spotlight.
The Georgia native died in October 2022 after sustaining injuries in a car accident in Tennessee, according to a local news outlet. He is 23 years old.
Katharine McPhee mourned the “sad” loss in an Instagram Story at the time, reflecting on the time she shared with Spence as a teacher during the 19-year-old singing competition. “Life is not fair and nothing is promised. God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure singing with you and knowing you,” he wrote at the time.
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“Nikki was a star the minute she walked into the auditions – she raised the bar with her talent and unforgettable stage presence,”
Host Ryan Seacrest tweeted at the time. “It was an honor to watch him grow and inspire millions of people. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and fans who are grieving this tragic loss.
LaBelle, who rose to fame as a contestant on season 3 in 2004, died after a car accident in January 2018 at the age of 31. The musician and her husband, NBA athlete Rasual Butler, were both in the car when Butler died. is in control. They are both survived by the daughter of the late Chicago Bulls athlete from a previous relationship, Raven Butler.
“@leahlabelle is beautiful and has the voice of ANGEL. She is my wild card pick on @AmericanIdol ,” former judge Paula Abdul tweeted. “I am saddened to hear that she and her husband @RasualButler45 have passed away. What a terrible tragedy. I send my deepest love and condolences to her family and friends.”
American Idol’ Contestant Willie Spence Dies In Car Accident At 23
The season 2 finale died in a car accident in May 2016. He was 36. TMZ reported at the time that Smith was driving on the highway in Oklahoma City when another vehicle caused the accident.
Borgella, a season 7 contestant, died at the age of 32 after a long battle with endometrial cancer.
“To God be the glory! With heavy hearts, we are very saddened to announce the death of our beloved Joanne,” her family wrote in an October 2014 statement shared via Facebook. “On Saturday, October 18, 2014, at 5:45AM, Joanne Borgella Ramirez called the Lord into heaven. At a very young age, Joanne chose to serve and trust in the Lord; and since her diagnosis over a year ago, Joanne has chosen to become a warrior too and share her journey with the world. Her faith, courage and strength could not be shaken by all the obstacles she encountered. Although our family is suffering this great loss, we are comforted by the closeness Joanne shared with the Lord. We know her spirit still shines and will continue to live in heaven.”
Johns, who also competed in season 7, died in August 2014 after suffering a blood clot in her ankle, according to
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