Every season of “America's Got Talent” creates moments of memorable television that mean far more than winning the competition or taking the million-dollar prize. Season 12 has already shown the world that a singer with an anthem to “Try” can use her voice to encourage even without being able to hear her own voice. The display of determination, dedication, and overcoming that only this competition offers is constantly unique, and last night, June 13, a beautiful young lady with an incredible story of survival and finding her song took the “America's Got Talent” stage. No one who experienced her sharing her journey, or heard her divine voice, will ever be able to forget the young lady called Kechi.

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Scars speak of soaring hope and courage

#Simon Cowell asked the young woman who walked out on stage about how long she had been singing. The long-standing British judge of talent could hardly know the story that would unfold, but perhaps he had an idea. The Nigerian-born and now Houston native began to share her journey. She gave her name as Kechi and related that she had been singing since she was seven years old, but really taking it seriously over the last 12 years. He asks what brought her to singing, and she took a deliberate, emotional pause before relating that she survived a plane crash at the age of 16, in December, 2005. She was one of only two survivors out of 109 passengers and was flying home with her choir group. Kechi’s best friend was among those lost.

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When the teenager was found, she was “mixed in with debris,” but by grace, Kechi had a pulse. It is no accident that Kechi shows her scars with pride. Scars are a testament to what one endures, yet still survives in life. This young woman has had more than 100 surgeries, and through her “itch and pain” of the burn and bandages, she exclaims “music was my escape.”

The entire panel, Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and most of all, Simon Cowell, was enthralled and could not wait to hear and see what would come next from Kechi. It can only be called a moment of blessing for the giver, and every heart receiving her gift.

Song from heaven out of cinders

From the first notes of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” #Kechi Okwuchi demonstrated a divine talent for interpretation and meaning that moved far beyond her lovely voice and knowing the words. Simon Cowell looked aside for a time and tilted his head just to take her singing in to the fullest. The performance of the song that spans a lifetime of love shared together was prompting tears from the audience before the first chorus, as Howie Mandel listened in rapt attention.

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By the close of her audition, the audience was standing to give an ovation to Kechi, and the judges’ panel also rose unanimously. “You're one of the most beautiful people I've ever met,” Howie Mandel exuded. Mel B commended the bravery of the singer, her inspiration, and reminded her “you've got the tools to really sing” and create even more magical moments. Simon Cowell concluded the remarks by saying that what he loved most about “America's Got Talent” is that “it gives a platform” to those who don’t usually get one. What excites him most about Kechi is that there is “so much more to come.”

Howie Mandel topped his “yes” vote off with another “You are beautiful,” and three more affirmative votes came. Kechi gave praise to her mother and family for all their support. Now, the entire country is in Kechi’s corner, and no one can wait to see how far she goes. #America's Got Talent" 2017