One of the most viral contestants of “American Idol” this season was someone who didn’t even make it to the live shows: Shayy. This 18-year-old high school student from Midlothian, VA recently lost her vision due to a brain tumor, which the doctors were only partially able to remove. Shayy’s initial audition of Andra Day‘s “Rise Up” was the most-watched audition of Season 17, which is why it was so shocking to see her eliminated in the Hawaii showcase round. The good news for “American Idol” fans is that Shayy returned during Sunday’s season finale to perform “Rise Up” with — who else? — the original singer herself. Watch the video above.
“As we traveled across the country searching for talent we heard the moving and emotional stories of contestants across the nation,” host Ryan Seacrest declared during the live episode. “This next young lady’s viral audition has reached over 103 million people worldwide. Tonight she’s back to sing the song that caught our attention back in Louisville. Here is ‘Rise Up’ from our very own Shayy.”
Dressed all in black with silver accents, Shayy sang the first verse of the song before announcing the surprise appearance of Andra Day. The two powerhouses then performed the rest of the song together as images of dandelions appeared behind them.
Shayy was just one of the many Season 17 contestants who returned to close out the year. Of course, all of the Top 10 appeared to sing alongside celebrity artists: winner Laine Hardy, runner-up Alejandro Aranda, Madison VanDenburg, Laci Kaye Booth, Wade Cota, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Walker Burroughs, Alyssa Raghu, Dimitrius Graham and Uche. There was also Margie Mays, Austin Michael Robinson and VoKillz from this season, in addition to former “Idol” superstars Maddie Poppe, Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert.
In his “American Idol” live blog, our recapper Denton Davidson had this to say about Shayy’s performance: “Next, Shayy, the legally blind singer who won over viewers earlier this season returned to sing “Rise Up” by Andra Day. She sounds fantastic and then announced that Andra is there to sing with her! They were both fantastic! Lionel Richie is in tears.”