There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.
On Tuesday night’s “America’s Got Talent” season premiere, the Mzansi Youth Choir from South Africa took the stage and performed a moving tribute to a late contestant.
After introducing themselves, the choir sang a powerful rendition of the song “It’s Okay”, by the late season 16 singer Nightbirde (born Jane Marczewski), who received the Golden Buzzer, but withdrew front he season due to her cancer diagnosis.
She died in February 2022 at age 31.
“This song has been such a pillar of strength for our choir through difficult times,” a choir member explained on the show. “We just want to continue her legacy and that’s why we chose this song.”
Heidi Klum praised the performance and said the song holds a “really special meaning in my heart, while Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel offered their own praise for the emotional tribute.
“This brought back so many memories for me,” Simon Cowell said, getting choked up. “I know how much this would’ve meant to her … it was just breathtaking, honestly.”
Speaking to People, Mitch Marczewski Jr., Nightbirde’s older brother, said of the performance, “It was simply amazing to see. ‘AGT’ did an incredible job with Jane’s song and I was deeply moved by their performance. I didn’t think anyone could cover Jane’s song on ‘AGT’, but they proved me wrong.”
“We never expected a reception like this,” said Jannie Zaaiman, the founder and director of Mzansi Youth Choir. “We had hoped we would make it through to the next round, but this was an absolute spectacular experience for the choristers, who handled the pressure with such poise and grace… We are immensely proud of them for this extraordinary achievement.”