Wednesday's audition episode featured some of the ABC competition series' best performance so far, but one highlight from the special episode was Shayy Winn's performance.
Before stunning the panel with her moving performance of Andra Day's "Rise Up," the Virginia native opened up about her life after a brain tumor left her legally blind.
"A year ago I started complaining to my mother about not being able to see the whiteboard," she said. "I said, 'Oh man, I gotta get glasses now.'"
Shayy Winn's story is heartbreaking, but her strength is inspiring.March 7, 2019
"[The doctor] came back and said, 'you have to go to the ER now,'" she added. "I got dragged to my MRI and that's where they found that I had a tumor in my brain."
Despite doctor's attempts to save her sight, the 17-year-old said holding back tears that she was declared legally blind. The change led to some cruelty from her classmates, she said.
"The kids were, like, so cruel," she said. "They'd call me names. They would kick my cane, they would push me. I asked my mom at one point like, 'why did that happen to me?'"
"I also have people that are very supportive... I've made new friends," she said. "There's a whole other side to life that I never knew about. I had people that were in my corner trying to help me learn. I was making the best of what I've been dealt."
After sharing her story with the judges, Richie seemed particularly invested in hearing Wynn performed. Her performance left all the judges in their feelings, but Richie was visibly brought to tears.
"You have wrecked me," Richie said starting off the judges' comments on the performance. "I am just telling you."
He rushed toward Wynn and gave her a quick hug, as Bryan commented on Richie's powerful response for the performance.
"You have what we cannot teach," Bryan said. "We cannot teach letting the music flow straight from the soul, and that's what you did."
"You're a lesson to us all," Richie said. "You deliver your spirit and you've touched me. Katy and I, we don't cry together... we are in love with you."
The judges then quickly told Wynn she would be going to Hollywood and gave her and her mom a big hug before they continued to cry.0comments
"You earned this one hundred percent... You re meant to be here," Perry said.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.