Americas Got Talent Season 12 (2017) finalist Kechi Okwuchi (age 28), a plane crash survivor from Houston, Texas got the Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell after she gave an amazing rendition of “You Are The Reason”.
Before she performed, Kechi gave her life story.
Kechi was in a plane crash when she was 16 years old. There were 109 people aboard, but only 2 people survived including Kechi Okwuchi.
Out of 60 kids from her school that were in the plane, only Kechi survived.
“It was one of the most painful moments of my life, knowing that all those kids have lost their lives,” Kechi said.
Her beautiful face was badly burned and she suffered 3rd degree burns over 65% of her body. Doctors gave her only 30% chance of survival.
She said that hearing the words of Simon Cowell during her audition, wherein he said “You deserve your place here tonight, not just based on your story, but actually on your talent.”
Kechi said, “For the longest time I’ve been recognized as a survivor. But being on ‘America’s Got Talent’ was the first time that I was recognized as a singer. ‘America’s Got Talent’ showed me, there is life after burns.”
The singer said she is on AGT Champions because she feels like she owes it to the kids that lost their lives in the accident, “to live in exemplary ways that would make those who we lost proud, if they were here.” Besides, Kechi wanted to follow her dreams and said she has found her voice and thinks it’s her chance to prove that she is a champion.
Kechi performed a heart rending version of Calum Scott’s “You Are The Reason”.
Kechi gets Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell – America’s Got Talent: The Champions
Everyone gave Kechi a standing ovation after her performance and all of the judges had glowing praises for her.
Judge Howie Mandel said:
They say that 99% of success is just showing up. You do so much more than just show up. You’re so much more than your songs and your sound. You’re more than a champion of singing and of talent. You’re a champion of life.
For her part, Mel B commented how much she loves Kechi:
I could see how hard that you’ve been working. There’s a huge difference. I just love you and I adore you. You are a survivor. I love you.
Heidi Klum expressed her joy in seeing Kechi again:
I’m so excited that I get the chance to see you again, to hear you again. You look beautiful, you sounded beautiful and it’s always a joy seeing you onstage.
As for Simon Cowell he said that Kechi was very different than when they met her for the the first time.
Simon Cowell said:
I remember you being very shy. But based on what I’ve seen tonight, I’m gonna be honest with you. I didn’t really like it that much.
Simon was booed by the audience, his co-judges were shocked, and host Terry Crews was shaking his head. Kechi looked sad and so did her mother.
Then Simon said, “I actually loved it”, and he stood to press the Golden Buzzer.
As Kechi’s mother cried in reaction, Kechi bowed her head in tears.
Simon approached her with open arms and while hugging her, he said, “I have always wanted to do that for you. You so deserve it. This is what defines the word champion.”
Terry Crews tried to ask Kechi what she feels, she can only say, “Mom, I got the Golden Buzzer”.
Simon said, “My one regret is that I never got the chance to give her the Golden Buzzer. You wanna know what a champion is. This is a champion.”
Kechi Okwuchi joins singers Brian Justin Crum, Susan Boyle, Angelica Hale, Cristina Ramos, and Paul Potts; stand up comedian Preacher Lawson, and extreme knife throwers Deadly Games, in the finals of AGT Champions.
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