Every so often a really inspiring story comes along on the reality competition series Amercian Idol. This season, Shayla Winn—who goes by Shayy— is that inspiration. Pronounced legally blind a year ago, the 17-year-old didn’t let that stop her from giving the performance of a lifetime.
Shayy introduced herself to judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, before breaking into a beautiful rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”
The Virginia native went to an eye doctor appointment thinking she would need glasses because she couldn’t see the board in school. Turns out the doctor sent her to the ER for surgery to remove tumor that was discovered on her brain. Having to walk with a cane, Shayy began to get bullied at school. But she persevered and found the group of friends who supported her and helped her learn to live with her blindness.
“People are always gonna always say you can’t do this, you can’t do that. But you can do it. You got it,” Shayy said in the video.
After explaining her story to the judges, she began her audition. As the young lady began to sing, Lionel immediately was reduced to tears. Katy and Luke were amazed by her voice and couldn’t hold back the emotion. The judges gave Shayy a standing ovation following her performance.
“You have wrecked me,” Lionel said through tears. He then proceeded to say, “I have to do this,” and he walked over and gave Shayy a big hug. “Thank you for that,” he said.
“So Shayy, you have what we cannot teach. We cannot teach letting the music flow straight from the sole ad that’s what you did. It just pours out of you,” Luke said.
“You are a lesson to us all because it is the power of the spirit. You are a reminder of just how blessed we are,” Lionel said composing himself. “You walk out here with all the confidence in the world and just deliver your spirit. You touched me. I’m so in love with you.”
With that, Shayy got the news that she was going to Hollywood.