American Idol finalist Willie Spence, from Riviera Beach, among Top 3


May 20, 2021, RIVIERA BEACH, FLORIDA – And then there were three. Luckily for those in Riviera Beach watching American Idol’s penultimate episode, singer Willie Spence was among them. The City of Riviera Beach and the Riviera Beach CRA are throwing a Watch Party on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 6pm until 11pm at Bicentennial Park at the Marina Village Event Center. There will be food trucks, live music, and fun! Come out and support our own, Willie Spence, and make sure you vote. Willie is known in the American Idol community by “Shine Bright Like a Diamond, Willie Spence.”.


That phrase has become synonymous with the 21-year-old caretaker, who was born in Riviera Beach, as he competes to be the next American Idol. The season 19 finalist auditioned for the ABC reality show competition with a heart-stopping rendition of Rihanna’s song, Diamonds. His performance was so good, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan gave Spence a golden ticket, a coveted “in” to the competition.

During his American Idol audition, which aired in February, Spence told Richie, Perry and Bryan that he sings not just for himself but also for his family, who lives in Riviera Beach. Spence currently lives in Atlanta. Though Spence grew up in Douglas, Georgia, he was born in Palm Beach County. American Idol footage showed him standing in front of his grandparents’ home in Florida.

Spence was asked what he would be doing if he was not on American Idol. For Spence, he said it would still have been singing — except in his grandad’s church in Riviera Beach. It’s where Spence began his singing career as a child, before moving to Douglas, Georgia. He’d spoken in past episodes about his grandfather, Willie Roger Singleton, who died in March and had lived in Riviera Beach.

Spence’s incredible performances on American Idol, including Rihanna’s Diamonds, have moved the judges and fans who have voted him into the top three. It will be a busy week for Spence. Right now, he is heading back to Los Angeles to continue rehearsing for the final show. American Idol season finale will air live Sunday at 8 p.m.

Click here to see story in the Palm Beach Post

The Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

The Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is at the heart of dramatic transformations underway within the district. Formed in 1984 by the Riviera Beach City Council, the Riviera Beach CRA provides funding for a wide scope of projects that incentivize economic growth through business attraction and retention; finances and new and improved infrastructure for real estate projects; and generally works to expand the tax base by creating a welcoming environment that eliminates blight and improves the perception of safety in the area.

The Agency’s main mission is to guide the city’s redevelopment efforts. This includes making investments of public funds in key infrastructure improvement projects that have the capacity to act as a catalyst for additional private funding and development, create jobs and help to improve the quality of life for city residents. For more information about the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, follow the official Facebook, Instagram @RBCRA and Twitter @RivieraBeachCRA pages or visit