During the most recent episode of the singing competition, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were treated to the jaw-dropping voice of Shayy, a high school student who belted out Andra Day’s emotional single “Rise Up.” But before she launched into the stirring tune, she relayed to the judges why she was holding a cane — a year earlier she began complaining to her mother about not being able to see the white board in school, and a few doctor’s appointments later, Shayy was told that she had a brain tumor. While the doctors were able to save her life, the tumor took her sight. But that hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves most: singing.
After Katy told Shayy that she sang like “an angel,” a very teary-eyed Lionel took a moment to hug her and praise her for her strength. “You have wrecked me,” he said, visibly emotional. “Thank you for that . . . you’re a lesson to us all, OK? Because it’s the power of the spirit, and you’re the reminder of just how blessed we are.”
Like another contestant from the same episode whom the judges called “genius,” Shay was sent through to Hollywood with multiple hugs and applause from Katy, Luke, and Lionel. Watch her performance, above!