Inspiring 11-year-old violinist and Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer, Tyler Butler-Figueroa returned to AGT on Tuesday night for the quarterfinals. He performed Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child,” and wowed both the judges and audience.
As we wait to find out how far Tyler will go in the competition, let’s learn a few things about his background and talent. Prepare to be impressed by his strength and determination.
Tyler Butler-Figueroa is a cancer survivor.
When Tyler was four years old, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of cancer among children. The good news is that Tyler is now cancer-free, with almost four years in remission.
Tyler was bullied because of his illness.
In his audition for AGT, Tyler shared that kids at school treated him poorly because of his cancer. “They would spread rumors to say that my cancer was contagious, and they all wanted to stay away from me,” he explained.
Simon Cowell called Tyler an “extraordinary young man,” adding, “We hear too many stories about people being bullied … Most people are bullied because they’re better than the people who bully them.”
Tyler raised money by busking.
When he was seven, Tyler saw a flyer for violin lessons at his school. His mom reportedly bought him a violin at a flea market, and he ended up playing on the street in Raleigh. They raised $2,000 to get him to America’s Got Talent.
In the above video, Tyler can be seen playing songs such as “Closer” by the Chainsmokers and “All of Me” by John Legend, as well as being interviewed by local news.
Tyler returns to the hospital where he was treated to give other’s hope.
Tyler is giving back to UNC Children’s Hospital, where he was treated for cancer. He recently returned to the hospital to play violin for the young patients there. In the above video, he can be seen playing “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson, which was his AGT audition song.
Tyler earned the Golden Buzzer From Simon Cowell.
Simon said he wanted to send a message to bullies by hitting the Golden Buzzer for Tyler in his audition and sending him straight to the live shows. Tyler said afterward that he was “confident” he would get a yes, but “never thought I would get the Golden Buzzer.”
Tyler said it felt like it happened “in slow motion,” adding that it was “a dream come true.” No matter how far he gets in the competition, Tyler is clearly going places, and has inspired a lot of people.