Kechi Okwuchi will be among the contestants to keep your eyes (and ears) on during this season of America’s Got Talent.
The singer took the audience and judges’ breaths away with her performance of Ed Sheeran’s 2014 single “Thinking Out Loud” on Tuesday’s episode. But it was her powerful story that truly amazed everyone.
At age 16, Okwuchi nearly died in a fatal plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 passengers in 2005. She was one of two survivors on board a Nigerian flight — traveling between Abuja and Port Harcourt — that crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport.
I almost still can’t believe this is real… pic.twitter.com/IsOmSKgGNi
— Kechi Okwuchi (@Kechi) June 14, 2017
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) June 14, 2017
Okwuchi explained how she had over 100 surgeries due to injuries and burns.
“Lying down in the hospital bed with bandages from head to foot. Music was my escape, that’s why it means so much to me,” Okwuchi told Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Mel B. “I was completely covered in burns but I had a pulse … music was an escape, I sang every single day.”
After gracing the AGT stage, Okwuchi received a standing ovation from the audience — as well as resounding yeses from each judge.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.