A 18-year-old school shooting survivor from Michigan blew away the judges of “America’s Got Talent” with a heart-breaking performance Tuesday in her audition for the show.
Ava Swiss, a senior at Oxford High School where a gunman killed four students and injured seven others last November, received a standing ovation from all four judges for her breath-taking rendition of “Remember” by Lauren Daigle.
Before belting out the song, Swiss shared how difficult it has been being a survivor of the mass shooting.
“It’s been hard,” the teen said. “I remember my brother and I, we were talking to each other, and we said there’s no way we were ever stepping foot back in the school. But we’ve actually been in person in school for about two months now, so things are getting better.”
Swiss said music has helped her cope with the horrific tragedy and she chose to sing “Remember” because it reminds her to find the good in hard times.
“When I sing it, I remember the good. I remember my community, my family — just the love and I remember that it’s all there for me and it’ll help me get where I need to be,” she told the judges. “So that’s why I’m so grateful I’m able to be here today and I can share it with more people than I ever thought I could.”
Swiss teared up as she finished the moving performance and received a huge round of applause from audience members and the judges.
She received “wows” and praise from all four judges.
“It took my breath away,” Sofía Vergara said. “You were not just singing, you were showing us your feelings and it gave me goosebumps.”
Simon Cowell called Swiss “gutsy” and said her performance is one he’ll never forget in his many years of judging contestant shows.
“For me, this is one of those auditions that I’ll never forget,” he told the young singer.
Howie Mandel applauded Swiss’s courage to get up on the stage after experiencing so much trauma.
“In life, it’s tough to show up, especially after going through incredible trauma,” Mandel said. “The fact that you can break through that and shine the way you did today is so inspirational for every human being.”