When Shayy Winn shared the inspirational short story of how losing her eyesight changed her life, it truly touched the hearts of the American Idol judges. In fact, Lionel Ritchie was already fighting through tears when the blind singer’s audition of Andra Day's ‘Rise Up' began!
When the now-18-year-old high school student Shayy Winn started having trouble seeing the board during class, her biggest fear was that she was going to have to get glasses. But her vision problems turned into something far more serious.
During a routine eye exam, the optometrist told Shayy she needed to get to the hospital immediately. There, doctors performed an MRI and discovered a tumor in Shayy’s brain.
The procedure necessary to remove the entire tumor was simply too risky. So, doctors operated and took out half of the mass. But it was too late to save Shayy’s eyesight.
Shayy got emotional describing what it was like to come home from the hospital legally blind after surgery. Life as she knew it changed forever.
“Once I got back into school, that was the bad part,” she explained. “The kids were so cruel. They’d call me names, they would kick my cane, they’d push me.”
Shayy struggled to understand why this had happened to her. But the inspiring overcomer pressed on. She made new friends and experienced the love of Jesus through those who supported her during this difficult time.
“I was making the best light of what I had been dealt,” she said.
Blind Singer Sets Out To Inspire Others
Through it all, Shayy never lost her passion for performing. Rather than letting people tell her what she can’t do, Shayy focuses on inspiring others with what she can do.
Her inspirational overcomer story certainly had an impact on the judges. Luke Bryan even promised to pray for Shayy and her condition. But it was the blind singer’s powerful audition that left everyone in awe.
Before Shayy even made it to the chorus of Andra Day’s ‘Rise Up’, Lionel Ritchie was already overcome with emotion.
“You have wrecked me,” he said at the end of the incredible performance.
And Shayy’s gorgeous voice belting out the powerful lyrics certainly brings on the chills. By the time she finished, all three judges gave this courageous young woman a standing ovation and sent her through to Hollywood.
"You have what we cannot teach,” Luke Bryan said. “We cannot teach letting the music flow straight from the soul, and that’s what you did.”
Shayy’s got incredible talent. But even more than that, she got a story to share to help encourage others.
“I want to say, ‘don’t let anything stop you from doing what you love and what you dream to do,'” Shayy explained. “Keep on pushing on, you got this.”
And Shayy is inspiring so many people with her appearance on American Idol.
Lionel Ritchie summed it up best, saying, “You’re a lesson to us all because it’s the power of the Spirit. And you’re a reminder of just how blessed we are.”
What an emotional audition. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for this inspiring young lady!
WATCH: Blind Singer’s Audition Of ‘Rise Up’ Brings On Tears