Willie Spence delivered a “stand up” performance on the “American Idol” stage that launched him into the competition’s Top 9.
The Georgia man’s star continues to rise, wowing fans and judges with a set of pipes that have some predicting he’ll win it all.
Spence is now one step closer to the “Idol” crown after viewers voted for him to advance to the next round on Sunday night.
“I’m really at a lost [sic] for words, seeing all the support!” he wrote on Twitter after his performance. “I just wanna say thank y’all so much for Voting me in the Top 9.”
For Oscars Night, the 21-year-old blew away judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan with a soul-stirring rendition of “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo from the Oscar-nominated movie “Harriet.” Erivo portrayed formerly enslaved abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman in the 2019 film, co-writing the song that earned her a nod for “Best Original Song.”
Spence channeled that energy Sunday in a performance that brought the judges and fellow “Idol” contestants to their feet. Richie called it “a religious experience.”
“You delivered the goods,” he told Spence. “Congratulations.”
Perry was equally moved and applauded the “powerful” performance.
“Thank you for taking all of the emotion, especially of this week, and using it in your song and singing like that,” Perry said. “That was so powerful. That cuts through that darkness.”
Bryan jokingly said he wouldn’t peg Spence as a front runner until the competition’s end — but some fans seem more than ready to crown the Georgia native as the next American Idol..
“He is killing it these last 2 weeks and I’m sure it wont be the last time,” one viewer commented on the show’s official Facebook page. “Loved him since his first audition. I think he just might be the winner.”
“Willie is hands down the VERY best on the show this year,” wrote another. “He not only has the voice of an angel but the combination of his stage presence, star quality and incredible humility is absolutely worth the win!!! He has something very very special.”
“American Idol” airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m.