PEARLAND, Texas- A Pearland woman's amazing voice is dazzling fans of the show America's Got Talent. But it's her amazing story of survival and her ability to overcome obstacles that's inspiring everyone she meets.
Kechi Okwuchi says when she got the call from producers of America’s Got Talent, she initially thought it was joke. Besides, she hadn’t even auditioned for the show.
"I would have never been brave enough to do something like that," said Okwuchi. "A friend of mine turned in an application on my behalf, without telling me."
Thanks to that friend, Okwuchi soon found herself on the main stage.
"I’m stepping out there, and I’m overwhelmed, and all those lights shining on you," said Okwuchi. "You just feel like this is a make or break moment."
Her performance made the judges’ jaws drop. The audience rose to give her a standing ovation.
Okwuchi called it "a very unexpected reaction."
What's even more incredible than her voice, is her personal story and what she has overcome.
When she was 16 years old, the plane she was traveling on crashed in Nigeria. There were 107 people who died in the crash, and Okwuchi is one of only two survivors. This was in 2005.
She suffered from third degree burns on 65 percent of her body and underwent hundreds of surgeries. Her need for extensive medical care is what brought her to the Houston area.
Her bravery has helped her to accomplish many goals. She earned a degree in economics, and even graduated as valedictorian of her college class.
But it’s her latest accomplishment, on the America's Got Talent stage that Okwuchi says has brought her the most joy.
"I felt like I had been acknowledged, validated, that my voice had been validated, that I had been accepted," said Okwuchi. "It felt so good, so positive."
Okwuchi got a "yes" from all the judges on the show and has moved to the next round.