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Plane crash survivor, Kechi Okwuchi, sings on America’s Got Talent – May’s goosebump moment

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May: “Hi, my name is May and my goosebump moment comes in when I saw this lady, Kechi Okwuchi. She was one of the survivors of the Sosoliso Airline crash. Ever since then, she has been able to pull through the hurdles and the scars. I mean, the courage to go out. It has really been something that is really, really awesome and I saw her sing in America’s Got Talent. It was so amazing, I was really, really shocked and I was excited. I mean, if she can pull through, then this is an encouragement for any young person out there.”
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A plane crash survivor on America’s Got Talent

During her audition on America Got Talent in 2017, Kechi Okwuchi sang her version of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking out Loud”. Beforehand she told the judges and the people in the audience where her love for singing comes from. “I want to share my voice with AGT. I was in a plane crash when I was 16 years old, killing 107 out of 109, leaving two survivors. I was one of those two survivors.”

When asked by one of the judges how she coped with the trauma, she said: “I was in the hospital bed with head to toe bandages, music was my escape and that’s why it means so much to me.” At the end of her performance, the Nigerian survivor received a standing ovation from her audience and the judges.

Kechi Okwuchi’s journey on America’s Got Talent

Kechi Okwuchi was accepted into the AGT semi-finals after giving the judges her performance of Katy Perry’s song “By The Grace of God”. After it became clear that the plane crash victim had reached the semi-finals of the show, many Nigirian compatriots were amazed and really excited that she had made it this far.

Kechi performed “Don’t Worry About Me” by Frances in the semi-finals and dedicated the song to her mother as her electrifying performance moved the judges to tears. The judges of the show, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Simon Cowell, gave Kechi a standing ovation after her performance and former Spice Girl Mel B said “Your voice speaks wonders, to so many people…you are incredible”.

The Nigerian singer was able to make it to the top ten to get into the finals, courtesy of the Dunkin’ Save voting process, which gives viewers the opportunity to send the contestant of their choice into the last stage of the talent competition.

In the grand finale of America’s Got Talent‘s Season 12, singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer emerged the winner closely followed by 9-year old Angelica Hale in second place and Light Balance in third. Kechi placed 6th.

Angelica Hale and Kechi both turned their struggles into something special. It only fitted that the dynamic, powerhouse duo sang the song “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. It was a perfect nod to their struggles. But, they had a surprise in store when they paused singing and introduced the incomparable Kelly Clarkson. Together, they finished the stunning performance as a trio, and it blew everyone away.

During her AGT journey, Okwuchi has received four standing ovations from the judges and audience since the competition commenced, the most out of any contestant.

Kechi later returned to perform on America’s Got Talent: The Professionals in 2019. Okwuchi brought the audience to tears when she sang a touching rendition of “You Are the Reason” by Callum Scott. Once judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum gave high praise for her performance, Simon Cowell threw the crowd for a loop when he said, “I’m gonna be honest with you — I didn’t really like it that much.” After a long, dramatic pause, he added, “I actually loved it,” before smashing the golden buzzer, sending Kechi straight to the live shows.

Kechi Okwuchi

Kechi was born in Orlu, Imo State on October 29, 1989. She grew up with her younger sister and attended Loyola Jesuit boarding school in Abuja, Nigeria. In 2015 she graduated in economics from the University of Thomas in Houston, Texas. Because of her extraordinary intellect, Okwuchi has been admitted to no less than 6 academic honor societies. In addition, she was awarded a Most Outstanding Student for her major in economics.

Kechi Okwuchi has a plane crash survival story that is no less than a miracle. In 2005, she was traveling on Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145, which was flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt. The plane crash-landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport, costing the lives of 107 of the 109 passengers. Okuwuchi and one other passenger were the only two people to survive the catastrophe. Kechi Okwuchi had partially lost her vision in the accident. Over 65% of her body was burnt. In 2007, she moved to Texas with her family for treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Galveston. She has undergone at least 100 surgeries.

Two years after the horrific incident, Kechi Okwuchi has overcome the aftermath and made peace with her new reality. She resurrected out of the misfortune like a phoenix from the ashes and went on to invigorate people by delivering speeches on TEDTalk stages. During her AGT audition, the 28-year-old survivor told the judges that the aftermath of the accident was depressing and discouraging, but luckily she had music to help her through the worst phase of her life.

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