There's a reason that American Idol has been such a hugely popular show, for so many years now. Aside from the singing, and the celebrity judges, what viewers really love are the real-life stories of people overcoming their personal struggles to make it to the stage.
This was the case for a young lady named Shayy (pictured above), who appeared on the show recently. Shayy started losing her vision about a year ago, and went to the optometrist expecting to need glasses, but the news was far worse than that. After an exam, they immediately sent her to a specialist unit at the nearest hospital.
They discovered that Shayy was suffering from a brain tumor, which may have been there for years, and was pressing up against her optic nerve. They managed to remove half the tumor in an attempt to save her vision, but it wasn’t enough to stop her from going blind, to the point where she needed a cane to walk around in her everyday life.
When she came home from the hospital, her vision was still getting worse. Going home was okay but returning to school would be a challenge. She discovered that many of the students were not accepting of her as she went through the halls with her cane. They would get in the way of it or trip her up. There was a lot of bullying that she had to deal with.
However, her lack of sight would not stop this amazing young woman from pursuing her dreams, and going on the show to give the performance of a lifetime.
The amazing young lady stood on the stage and told the judges part of her story. Then, she launched into a stunning version of Andra Day’s “Rise Up” with an amazingly clear, powerful, and confident voice that left the judges floored.
As judge Luke Bryan said afterwards, the music seemed to flow straight from her soul. She almost immediately brought Lionel Richie to tears as he tried several times not to well up during the performance.
When the singing was over, the legendary singer was compelled to go over and hug her. After sitting back down with the other judges, he said that her music and spirit had genuinely touched him. You could tell he meant it, too!
As he spoke to Shayy, we could see her mother in the background off to the side of the stage with a tissue in hand. Shayy's performance was so powerful, Lionel Richie wasn’t the only one in tears.
Katy Perry was also moved and said that she sung "like an angel". The judges decided unanimously that Shayy would be going to the next round in Hollywood.
They all came onto the stage to give her hugs and wish her the best of luck. Katy promised her that it was her talent and amazing spirit that were sending her to Hollywood, assuring her that “You earned this.”
Shayy went backstage to her loved ones, holding up the golden envelope that meant she would be going to the next round, and her family's reaction was more touching than anything.
You can watch the amazing video below. Keep a tissue handy!