Lionel Richie Breaks Down in Tears After Hearing a Blind Singer’s American Idol Audition
American Idol contestant Shayy Winn is determined to overcome whatever life throws at her on her way to reaching her dream: singing. A year before her audition, Shayy began to have trouble seeing the board at school. Thinking she needed glasses, she had her mother take her to the doctor.
After a few additional visits and tests, however, Shayy found out that it wasn’t her eyes that had a problem after all. She had a brain tumor. The doctors quickly scheduled surgery and were able to remove 50% of her tumor. However, not only was the tumor was gone, but now she is also legally blind.
Shayy’s life drastically changed and now consists of using a cane and relying on friends and family more. Even though she was frequently bullied in school after becoming blind, she is determined to overcome whatever is in her way. Her fighting spirit and resilience is very plain to see. For her audition, she fittingly chose the song “Rise Up” by Andra Day.
Firmly holding her cane, Shayy stood confidently in front of the judges and began singing. As soon as the first note came out of her mouth, the judges’ jaws dropped. Unwavering, Shayy’s voice filled the entire room as she delivered an emotional, pitch-perfect version of the song. She seemed to filter everything and everyone out around her. She and the song were one at that moment.
Tears flowed down judge Lionel Richie’s face almost as soon as Shayy started singing. He was visibly moved by her performance, and by the time she finished, he was weeping. Before leaving his chair to hug her, Lionel told her, “You have wrecked me…Thank you for that…you’re a lesson to us all…you’re the reminder of just how blessed we are.”
Fellow judge Katy Perry told her that she sang like “an angel.”
Lionel was smitten with Shayy and her talent. He continued to praise her, “You have what we cannot teach…We cannot teach letting the music flow straight from the soul, and that’s what you did. It just pours out of you…I’m so in love with you.”
Shayy’s determination and example of overcoming personal tragedy is so inspirational. Yet, even more moving than her story and spirit is her voice, the voice of an angel.