A deaf singer-songwriter just stunned the judges on ‘America’s Got Talent’

As someone who generally avoids reality competition shows at all possible costs, I am rarely interested in the contestants who grace the stage of shows like American Idol or America’s Got Talent. However, a recent reality TV moment honestly has me choking up a little bit, and I was completely not prepared for it.

Deaf singer and songwriter Mandy Harvey went on America’s Got Talent last night to perform one of her original songs, entitled “Try,” for judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Mel B.

Mandy lost her hearing at the age of 18 due to a connective tissue disorder, but was able to find a way to pursue music despite her hearing loss. “I’ve been singing since I was four,” she told the judges. “So, I left music after I lost my hearing, and then figured out how to get back into singing with muscle memory, using visual tuners, and trusting my pitch.”

Mandy’s performance of “Try” (which she sang while playing the ukulele) moved the judges and audiences to tears — not only because of the song’s message of perseverance, but because of Mandy’s remarkably lovely voice.

After Mandy’s performance, notorious curmudgeon, Simon Cowell, gave her his coveted Golden Buzzer, sending her through to the live show.

“It was incredible” Cowell said afterwards. “I’ve done this a long time. That was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.”

“Honestly, I never think I’m gonna be surprised or amazed by people, and then you turn up. Just the fact that you are you, but it was your voice, your tone, the song was beautiful.”

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