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Editor James Bennett's column: 'American Idol' crowns winner; it should have been Georgia's Willie Spence


“American Idol's” final three were Grace Kinstler, left, Chayce Beckham, center, and Willie Spence. Beckham chosen as the winner Sunday; Spence the runner-up. Beckham, who won recording contract with Hollywood Records, is the first Southern Californian to win “American Idol.” 

“American Idol” discovered Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Hicks and Adam Lambert.

Those great voices, and hundreds of others, might have gone unheard without the venerable talent show, which debuted on Fox in 2002, went on hiatus in 2016 and returned on ABC in 2018.


"American Idol" contestant Willie Spence shows his "golden ticket" for the reality TV competition.

James Bennett is Executive Editor. Contact him at 256-235-3540 or