‘American Idol’ runner-up says it’s not the last you’ll see of him

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Georgia’s own ‘American Idol’ finalist might have come up just a little short of the title, but his musical career is just getting started.

Sunday night, Chayce Beckham was crowned the winner of season 19 of ‘American Idol.’ Willie Spence, a 21-year-old from Douglas, Georgia was named the runner-up. Fellow finalist Grace Kinstler took home the third place spot.

[RELATED: Georgia’s Willie Spence is the ‘American Idol’ runner-up]

Spence spoke with Channel 2 anchor Justin Wilfon before the finale. Spence told Wilfon no matter the outcome, this is just the beginning for the young singer.

The ‘American Idol’ journey has been a dream come true for Spence, he said.

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The Coffee County native told Wilfon the road to where he is today was a difficult one. In fact, he almost lost his life.

In early 2020, Spence weighed nearly 600 pounds and went to the hospital with a pain in his chest. Doctors found fluid in his lungs.

“The doctors were shocked. They were shocked that I was still able to walk. And since then that made me look at life totally different,” he said.

After that, Spence went to work, not on the stage, but in the gym.

“I started losing the weight, getting a trainer, getting back on my A-game because I have a life and I want to live it, and I want to live it doing what I love, and that’s singing,” Spence said.

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The Georgia man traveled all the way from the east coast to the west coast just to audition for a chance at being able to live that dream.

“This whole American Idol experience has definitely been life changing. It makes me feel that I’ve worked hard. This is the hardest I’ve ever worked in my entire life. And I’m glad to see I made it through, that I made it through this American Idol journey.”

Even though he didn’t win, we’re sure it’ll be no time before he gets in the studio and records his first album.