A talented singer who suffered severe burns all over her body after surviving a deadly plane crash as a teen stunned America’s Got Talent: The Champions judges with a touching performance on Monday night.
Kechi Okwuchi, 28, was just 16-years-old when she was caught in the crash, which killed 107 out of 109 passengers. The Nigeria native was one of the two survivors, and was left with third degree burns on more than 65 per cent of her body.
The 28-year-old, who now lives in Houston, Texas, first appeared on the talent show in 2017, but despite making it into the finals, Kechi finished in the bottom five of the top ten contestants.
Whirlwind: Kechi Okwuchi, 28, broke down on stage as she was given the golden buzzer from the judges on America’s Got Talent: The Champions on Monday night
Emotional: Getting the golden buzzer from the judges means that Kechi, who was involved in a plane crash in 2005, is automatically placed in the finals of the talent competition
Round of applause! Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell (pictured left to right) gave her a standing ovation after her performance, that brought some of the audience to tears
After her accident, Kechi, who has been singing since she was a child, relied on music for providing her with an escape – and her talents have lead her to make it to the finals in the talent show, as she appears on it for the second time.
The latest episode of the spin-off show aired on Monday night, and saw Kechi making her comeback, as she performed You Are The Reason by Callum Scott.
And as Kechi stepped onto the stage on Monday evening’s show, the judges and audience applauded her and gave her a standing ovation – before she even began singing.
Wow! Kechi’s performance of You Are The Reason by Callum Scott on the latest episode of the talent show
After speaking to the judges for a moment, the room grew silent and Kechi began singing.
During her performance, members of the audience welled up as she her incredible vocals filled the room.
And after her song, she received a standing ovation from the audience, as well as the four judges: Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.
Speaking after the performance, Mel B said: ‘I could see how hard that you have been working. There’s a huge difference. I just love you and adore you.
‘You are a survivor,’ she added.
Heidi added: ‘Kechi I have to tell you, I have to tell you that I am so excited that I get the chance to see you again, to hear you again.
‘You look beautiful, you sounded beautiful, and it’s always a joy seeing you on this stage.’
Simon, on the other hand, began by saying: ‘Based on what I’ve seen tonight, I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t really like it that much.’
A big moment: After her performance was finished, the judges each gave their opinions on her vocals, before Simon (pictured) slammed the golden buzzer on the judging table
Support: Simon then walked on stage to give Kechi a hug, as he said: ‘I have always wanted to do that for you. This is what defines the word champion’
As the audience boo’d and shouted, Simon revealed that he was joking, as he said ‘I actually loved it,’ and he pressed the golden buzzer.
Getting the golden buzzer means that Kechi is automatically entered into the finals.
As she realized what was happening, the 28-year-old brought her hands to her face as her mouth dropped in shock, and her eyes welled up with tears.
Followers: Kechi regularly shares photos and videos to her 130,000 thousand followers on Instagram, as she has become an advocate for other burn survivors
As Kechi sobbed on stage, Simon walked on stage to give her a hug, and said: ‘I have always wanted to do that for you.’
‘This is what defines the word champion,’ he added.
Since her performance was uploaded to YouTube on Monday, is has received over two million views.
Speaking in the promotional video ahead of her performance, Kechi said: ‘For the longest time, I’ve been recognized as a survivor.
‘But being on America’s Got Talent was the first time that I was recognized as a singer. It showed me that there is life after burns.
‘I feel like I owe it to the kids that lost their lives in the accident to live in exemplary ways that would make those who we lost proud if they were here.
‘That’s why I am here on America’s Got Talent: The Champions. This is my chance to live my dream, and I know what it means to actually be here right now.
Devastated: Speaking ahead of her performance, Kechi said that appearing on the talent show in 2017 and again now in 2019 shows her that ‘there is a life after burns’
Heartbreaking: When she was 16, Kechi was involved in a plane crash that killed 107 of 109 passengers on board. Kechi was one of two survivors, and suffered major burns
Tragic: The now 28-year-old, pictured in hospital after the crash, was given just a 30 per cent chance of survival, as she suffered third degree burns on over 65 per cent of her body
Kechi said that since appearing on the show two years ago, she feels like she ‘has found her voice’.
Describing the accident, Kechi said that she was the only child to survive out of the the 60 kids from her school who were also on the flight.
‘It was one of the most painful moments of my life knowing that all those kids had lost their lives,’ she said.
At the time, she was given just a 30 per cent chance of survival.
The beginning: Kechi first appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2017, where she shocked judges with her incredible vocals
When she first appeared on the show, the judges were shocked to hear about her tragic story.
And when she started singing, the audience and judging panel were amazed at her vocals.
Her performance of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud left brought the judges and the audience as they gave her a standing ovation.
Speaking ahead of her first ever audition for the show back in 2017, Kechi said: ‘Lying in a hospital bed with bandages head to foot, not being able to move or do anything else, music was my escape and that’s why it means so much to me.
Kechi made it all the way through to the finals of America’s Got Talent in 2017, where she finished in the bottom five of the top ten contestants.
America’s Got Talent: The Champions is a spin-off show that sees finalists, runners-up and other memorable acts have the chance to compete again.
The talent show airs every Monday on NBC at 8:00pm.