During Season 17 of American Idol, the judges were moved by 17-year-old Shayy Winn’s audition. The young singer is legally blind, and she shared her story before delivering a powerhouse performance.
Judge Lionel Richie was especially affected by Shayy’s audition. He broke down in tears and got up to give her a hug after she performed. Watch Shayy’s performance in the video below.
Shayy Makes The Judges Cry On ‘American Idol’
Shayy told the judges that she became legally blind about a year before her audition. She explained that she had hydrocephalus, with too much fluid in her brain and a swelling of her optic nerves. Doctors then discovered she had a tumor in her head that may have been there all her life.
She shared that doctors removed 50 percent of the tumor, but removing all of it would require open cranium surgery, which is “too dangerous.” Shayy said she’s “a question mark” to her doctors. Luke Bryan said they would pray for her.
Shayy went on to sing “Rise Up” by Andra Day. The American Idol judges became emotional watching her, particularly Lionel Richie, who started crying almost immediately. They were all clearly impressed by Shayy’s talent.
“Every once in a while, something comes along,” Lionel said, standing up to give Shayy a hug. “You touched me … I’m so in love with you.” Katy Perry agreed, saying Shayy’s “strength is so inspiring,” and she sings “like an angel.”
How Far Did Shayy Go In The Competition?
The American Idol judges gave Shayy a golden ticket to Hollywood. During Hollywood Week, she performed in a group of three other contestants who put on goggles created by Shayy to cover their eyes during the performance and “be in perspective with her.”
Shayy was unfortunately eliminated during the Hawaii round after singing “All I Ask” by Adele. However, she returned for the season finale to perform her audition song “Rise Up” with Andra Day herself.
Shayy has continued to pursue music. Earlier this year, she released the songs “Addicted” and “Crazy.” She told local news that her American Idol experience made her “more confident,” and shared that her goal wasn’t to win but to share her story with others who may “feel alone.”