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Plane Crash Survivor And ‘AGT’ Star Kechi On How She Deals With ‘Stares’ and ‘Self Love’

Samantha Agate
2 months

America’s Got Talent recently counted down the top 15 most viral acts to ever appear on the show but there were definitely quite a few snubs. One person missing from the rankings was Kechi Okwuchi, but in our eyes, she was a very inspirational act that has a story of triumph and overcoming adversity. Check out our recap below where we discuss the episode and the viral rankings and keep reading to relive Kechi’s audition that had the world in tears.

Kechi Okwuchi Shared Her Survival Story On ‘America’s Got Talent’

We were first introduced to Kechi on season 12 of America’s Got Talent in 2017. She shared with the world her story about being one of the two survivors of the Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 crash in Nigeria on December 10, 2005. There were 59 of her classmates on board the flight that lost their lives that day. Kechi has third-degree burns covering over 65% of her body but has not let it stop her from achieving her dream of being a singer. It became clear that music means a lot to her as a way to get through a tough time in her life.


Her audition quickly went viral as people were inspired and humbled by her vulnerability and optimism. She sang a powerful rendition of ‘Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. Her performance and star quality led her all the way to the top 10 on the show.

Everyone was so blown away by Kechi’s story that it was a no brainer when she was invited back on for ‘AGT: The Champions.’ Simon Cowell declared that he always wanted to give her his Golden Buzzer which he did, sending her straight to the finals. While she did not receive enough superfan votes to make it to the top five, she did receive a standing ovation during her performance of Sia’s “Opportunity.”

She Overcame Adversity To Become An Advocate For Bullying And Burn Victims

Since her appearance on ‘AGT’, Kechi released her first single called “Don’t You Dare” demonstrating that anything is possible. She is an advocate for multiple burn survivor organizations including Shriners Burns Hospitals. She talks more about her journey after the plane crash to self-love in the TED Talk below. “Your scars do not define you,” she said. “It’s your passions that give rise to the vision you have for your life.” How incredible that this woman who was told she had a 30% chance of survival after her plane crash is not letting it define who she is nor take away from her talent.

After over 100 reconstructive surgeries on her body, Kechi is making the most out of her second chance at life. She recently posted “@agt didn’t care about my race, age, beliefs or scars, they only cared about my talent. Because of that, I was able to believe that a career in music and speaking was possible for me. I believe there’s a place for me in the music industry and if there isn’t, I’ll MAKE one, period.” She is resilient and passionate about her career and supporting multiple causes because she has gone through her own periods of self-bullying.

Kechi Okwuchi Recently Spoke About How She Is Grateful To Be Alive

Kechi posted a video on Instagram a few days ago about how her looks do not define her. When she looks in the mirror, she just sees Kechi. She spoke about a memory she had while in Nigeria in 2019 when a woman became very sympathetic towards her and used expressions of pity. She wanted to make it clear that comments about her appearance do not bother her, it’s people making pity comments. “Despite all of the things that could’ve gone wrong because of the plane crash, all I got was surface scars,” she said. Kechi went on to say that she feels grateful to be alive and doesn’t need anyone’s pity.


Kechi truly is the definition of overcoming adversity and putting the past behind her to live a life where she can put her talent on full display. She is the perfect example of what it means to be a champion both onstage and outside of America’s Got Talent.

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  •   About the Author ...

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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