‘America’s Got Talent’: Kechi Okwuchi earns standing ovation with ‘Thinking Out Loud’ [WATCH]

On Tuesday’s episode of “America’s Got Talent,” Kechi Okwuchi impressed the judges with her remarkable story of survival and then awed them with her singing of Ed Sheeran‘s chart-topper “Thinking Out Loud.” (Watch her moving performance above.)

Before raising her voice in song, she told the spellbound judges that she was one of just two passengers to survive a plane crash in 2005 in her native Nigeria that killed 107 souls. Okwuchi, who now lives in Houston, TX, explained how she had coped with more than 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.”

All four judges were clearly moved by her performance. Mel B told her, “You standing there right now is going to inspire so many people.” She then observed, “You have a beautiful voice, you’ve got the tools to really go for it and don’t hold back.” And Heidi Klum enthused, “I’m already excited to see you again on that stage.”

Show producer and lead judge Simon Cowell revealed, “What I am most proud about this show is it gives people a platform when normally you don’t get a platform. I think what’s exciting about you is there more to come from you.” Howie Mandel was the most moved of the judges, rising to his feet both when Okwuchi was singing and after telling her, “the choice you made with the song, you blew me away.”

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