In a surprise appearance on “America’s Got Talent,” contest judge Simon Cowell told Nightbirde — the singer whose fight against cancer has forced her to leave the competition early — she has “already won.”
“You made the decision, rightly so, that your health is your priority right now and I know the last time we spoke you actually said that you feel like you let people down,” the usually stoic Cowell told the 30-year-old Jane Marczewski as she listened on. “On behalf of all of us, you haven’t let anyone down. Even though you haven’t competed — you already won.”
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Clearly emotional, the 61-year-old judge went on to tell the Zanesville, Ohio, native her performance, which has been viewed more than 200 million times on YouTube, “has had such an impact on so many people.”
— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) August 12, 2021
“The most important thing is your wellbeing and your health and your recovery and, on behalf of all of us here, we’re sending you our love, our prayers, and we can’t wait to see you again soon,” Cowell continued. “Thank you so much for auditioning and for singing such a beautiful song.”
Fellow judge Sofia Vergara thanked Marczewski for “touching us with your song and who you are and how you are.” Howie Mandel, one of the show’s other judges, praised Nightbirde as the “poster human for courage in the face of adversity” at a time when so many people are struggling.
Nightbirde, for her part, said there’s “no way” she could have imagined the success she experienced since her audition aired in June.
Her song, “It’s OK,” rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts in the days after her audition, when Cowell awarded her his coveted golden buzzer.
“It’s a song I wrote for myself in the middle of the night when I needed those words so bad and it’s beautiful to see the world welcome that song into their own dark night and … I’m overwhelmed by it,” Marczewski said Wednesday, later adding that her whirlwind of a time on “AGT” has “restored my faith in humanity a while lot.”
She went on to say that “we all hurt, we all suffer, and we all have the potential to overcome, and this has been the most beautiful thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
In early August, Nightbirde — already a three-time cancer survivor — announced via social media that she was stepping away from “AGT” because her health had “taken a turn for the worse” and her fight against cancer was demanding all of her “energy and attention.”
“I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of ‘AGT,’” she wrote at the time. “Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it — but we knew that already.”
“I’m planning my future, not my legacy,” she added. “Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams.”
Watch Marczewski’s inspiring audition below:
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