Simon Cowell Joins Prison Reform Fight After ‘Tragic’ America’s Got Talent Act

Jill O'Rourke
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One incredible audition on this season of AGT has inspired judge Simon Cowell to take action. Singer Archie Williams delivered a powerful performance after revealing that he had been wrongly imprisoned for 37 years.


On Tuesday, Simon announced on Instagram that he has become an Ambassador for the Innocence Project, which is working to put an end to wrongful convictions. Read on to find out what Simon had to say about it.

Simon Cowell Takes Action After Archie Williams’ ‘AGT’ Audition

In a video posted on Simon’s Instagram account, he tears up after watching Archie’s audition to Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me.” He says Archie’s story gave him a “feeling of total injustice.”

He then speaks to Innocence Project Co-founder Barry Scheck and Director of Post-conviction Litigation Vanessa Potkin, who represented Archie for 26 years. They welcome him to the organization, while Simon says he hopes this is a “turning point.”


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“Archie’s performance is probably the single most important one in the history of America’s Got Talent,” Simon said in a statement to the Innocence Project, adding, “I’m honored to become an Ambassador for the Innocence Project and want to do what I can to help more people like Archie.” 

“This has really opened my eyes, my family’s eyes, and my friend’s eyes to this,” Simon continued. “So, I hope some good will come from this.”


Archie Williams auditions for “AGT.”

Archie Williams’ Powerful ‘AGT’ Audition

America’s Got Talent leaked Archie’s audition last week. In the clip, the singer shares his story. In 1982, a woman was raped and stabbed. Archie was arrested and convicted for the crime, despite knowing he was innocent.

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“Being a poor black kid, I didn’t have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana,” Archie said. He was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole or probation.

The Innocence Project took up Archie’s case in the mid-1990s. In 2019, a fingerprint analysis proved his innocence. His charges were dismissed, and he was released seven days later.

Archie says he would “pray and sing” to get through the “dark times.” He also watched America’s Got Talent during his time in prison. Now he has a chance to win the show. Simon Cowell said he would “never forget” his audition.

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