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Watch ‘unbelievable’ performance that earned Georgia man a spot on ‘American Idol’

An “unbelievable” audition earned a Georgia caretaker a golden ticket to Hollywood, placing him one step nearer to becoming the next “American Idol.”

Willie Spence, 21, surprised judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie along with his rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna on the audition, which aired Sunday evening.

“I do this for my family,” Spence instructed the judges earlier than belting out the primary few notes. “They’ve always supported me. They’ve been there from the very beginning.”

The R&B/soul singer grew up within the small south Georgia town of Douglas, about 60 miles northeast of Valdosta, in response to WRDW. He at the moment lives in Dunwoody, close to Atlanta, WSB-TV reported.

Spence’s performance earned a standing ovation from Richie, who mentioned Spence’s voice gave him chills “on the first note.”

“You’ve demonstrated exactly what we’ve been looking for,” Richie mentioned. “You just brought the artist to the table and honestly, you’re an undeniable star. That was just an enjoyable session to watch.”

Bryan additionally gushed over Spence’s performance, saying he “didn’t want it to end.”

Perry requested the Georgia man the place he noticed himself in 5 years, to which Spence mentioned he had goals to “share my gift, hopefully winning a Grammy one day.”

“It’s going to take hard work, but I feel like I can do it,” he added.

Spence left the audition room beaming, however not earlier than Perry left him with these parting phrases of recommendation: “Try not to sing circles around everyone out there.”

Related tales from Raleigh News & Observer

Tanasia is a nationwide Real-Time reporter primarily based in Atlanta overlaying Georgia, Mississippi and the southeastern U.S. She’s an alumna of Kennesaw State University and joined McClatchy in 2020.

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