WATCH: Georgia Man Makes American Idol Top 12 With 'Brilliant' Rihanna Song


Georgia American Idol hopeful Willie Spence has risen as a fan favorite, known for “being young and fresh” while hanging onto an “old soul vibe.”

That’s according to Katy Perry, one of the three celebrity judges to praise Spence for his latest performance on the show, a rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna.

It was a throwback to his audition for the show, when Spence earned a standing ovation from Lionel Richie.

“It felt amazing,” Spence told host Ryan Seacrest of performing with the full band.

Spence performed for Perry, Richie and guest Paula Abdul, an original Idol judge filling in for Luke Bryan, a fellow Georgia man who recently announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19.

Though Bryan didn’t hear Spence’s latest performance in person, he praised it during Spence’s audition:

“Gosh. I didn’t want it to end. I did not want it to end…That GRAMMY is attainable.”

At that time, Perry said Spence’s voice is one that “stops people in their tracks,” and continued her encouragement this week:

“I think that you came in as that diamond in the rough and now you are brilliant. Brilliant. And you are just evolving.”

Luckily, fans will get to see Spence evolve further in the competition — he made it to the Top 12.

Watch Spence’s latest performance here:

Watch his audition here:

Photo: Getty Images