Chayce Beckham Mourns The Loss Of Fellow ‘American Idol’ Alum Willie Spence: ‘He Was A Good, Sweet Soul’

Chayce Beckham is mourning the loss of his friend and fellow American Idol finalist, Willie Spence. Beckham took to social…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

October 12, 2022


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Chayce Beckham, WIllie Spence; Photo Courtesy ABC, American Idol

Chayce Beckham is mourning the loss of his friend and fellow American Idol finalist, Willie Spence.

Beckham took to social media on Wednesday (Oct. 12) to share a heartfelt goodbye to Spence, who tragically passed away on Tuesday (Oct. 11) following a car accident near Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

”It’s hard to find the words to say here, other than I loved Willie very much,” Beckham who appeared alongside Spence on Season 19 of the hit show. “He was a good sweet soul, and a warm beam of light in a cold and dark world that needed him so much.” 

Beckham went on to remember how Spence would “shake a whole room” when he sang and praised his God-given vocal talents. 

“I think Willie had a voice that God gave him specifically to spread his message, when Willie sang gospel it could make you cry. Willie also had a laugh that could make you melt, an honest humor you couldn’t help but love, and the biggest heart you could imagine all wrapped up into one human. His larger than life energy was infectious and I loved being around him,” he emotionally wrote. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fans, who I know he loved so much, and who he held close to his heart. I can’t wait to sing with you in Paradise, where I know I’ll see you again. Rest In Peace brother.” 

American Idol also remembered the talented singer across its social media accounts. 

“We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who lit up every room he entered and will be deeply missed. We send our condolences to his loved ones.”

In addition to Idol, several of Spence’s friends from the popular singing competition show also remembered the late singer, including Hunter Metts, Casey Bishop, Grace Kinstler, Alex Miller, Katharine McPhee, and more.

Willie Spence passed away at age 23 from injuries sustained in a car accident on Tuesday (Oct. 11). No additional information was revealed about the incident. 

The 23-year-old was a stand-out contestant on Season 19 of American Idol. Throughout his time on the popular singing competition show, Spence allowed his powerhouse vocals to shine and wowed America with his impressive vocal abilities. 

Spence auditioned for American Idol in San Diego, California. His performance of “Diamonds” by Rihanna earned him a spot in the Hollywood rounds with a “yes” from Idol judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry. 

“Willie, you have demonstrated exactly what we’re looking for,” Richie gushed after his audition. “You just brought the artist to the table and honestly you’re an undeniable star. You my friend are so gifted on the first note I had chills.”

“You are a special, special human being. Gosh I didn’t want it to end. I did not want it to end.That GRAMMY is attainable with no doubt in my mind,” Bryan said.

“The voice you have stops people right in their tracks. This is the magic you have,” Perry shared. 

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Throughout the season, the Georgia native covered songs such as “All Of Me” by John Legend, “Stay” by Rihanna, and “I Was Here” by Beyonce. 

After securing a spot in the Top 16, Spence delivered a show-stopping performance of Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain.”

He continued to impress all the way into the Top 4 where he sang “Glory” by John Legend and Common and joined forces with fellow finalist Grace Kinstler for a performance of “What They’ll Say About Us” by FINNEAS. 

Bryan was a big fan and support of Spence throughout the show and at one point in the competition told him, “You can do no wrong in my eyes, Part of being a star is making people fall in love with you and, man, I am in love with you, and I am in love with the way you go about being on stage, and the way you go about singing and the place it comes from. It’s amazing.”

Willie Spence ultimately placed second in the competition behind Season 19 winner Chayce Beckham. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.