American Idol 2019: Lionel Richie cries over Shayy’s audition

A young blind singer's audition on American Idol 2019 makes judge Lionel Richie cry.

by Marsha Dizon

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A blind but very hopeful 17-year-old contestant named Shayy Winn gave an amazing and emotional audition on American Idol Season 17 (2019) on March 6, bringing Lionel Richie to tears.

Before she started her audition, Shayy told her life story to the American Idol judges.

Shayy, a high school student from Midliothian, Virginia, told the judges she has been legally blind for about a year, because of hydrocephalus. The disease caused swelling in her optic nerves and also led to the discovery of a tumor in her brain.

The young contender said only 50% of the tumor has been excised and removing the rest would require open cranium surgery (craniotomy), which poses too much of a risk.

Asked what doctors tell her, Shayy said she’s basically like a question mark. Luke Bryan said they’d pray for her, the doctors, and that technology can have Shayy’s sight back.

When Shayy started singing Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’, her beautiful voice did not fail to impress the judges.

Even before she sang the first note, Lionel Richie was already tearing up.

And as Shayy’s performance continued, Lionel Richie’s tears welled up, prompting him to wipe them away several times.

Blind Contestant Shayy Brings Lionel Richie to TEARS With Andra Day’s “Rise Up”

[ref: American Idol]

All the judges gave Shayy a standing ovation for her performance. With his eyes red from crying, Lionel remarked, “You have wrecked me.”

Luke Bryan said, “Lionel, you look like you’re walking a daughter down the aisle.”

After agreeing with Luke, Lionel said, “I have to do this. Every once in a while there’s something that comes along like this.” He then approaced Shayy, hugged her and thanked her.

When he returned to his seat, Katy Perry said, “I’ve never seen Lionel cry this much, I like it.”

Luke then gave his assessment of Shay’s performance. He said:

So Shay, you have what we cannot teach… We cannot teach letting the music flow straight from the soul, and that’s what you did. It just pours out of you.

Lionel commented:

You’re a lesson to us all. Because it’s the power of the spirit. And you’re the reminder just how blessed we are. And here you are, with all of your story. You walk out here with all the confidence in the world. You just deliver your spirit. And you touched me…And I’m so in love with you.

Kate Perry seconded Lionel Richie and said:

I’m absolutely in love with you as well. You’re so inspiring. Your strength is so inspiring plus you sing like an angel. And so for me you’re not a question mark.

After simultaneously announcing that Shayy will be going to Hollywood, Katy, Lionel and Luke approached Shayy and hugged her as well as her mom.

With the golden ticket in her hands, Shayy could only cry and hug her mom.

Katy Perry was not through with her praises though. She told Shayy, “We’re so excited to have you in Hollywood. And by the way, you earned this, you earned this 100%. And you’re gonna give so many people a run for their money. Because you are meant to be here.”

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