America’s Got Talent: Simon Cowell says he will never forget audition by shooting survivor Ava Swiss


Simon Cowell said he would never forget the audition of school shooting survivor Ava Swiss on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent on NBC.

The 18-year-old singer from Oxford, Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School.

‘I remember my brother and I were talking to each other and we were like there is no way we were ever stepping foot back in the school, but we have actually been in person in the school for about two months now so things are getting better,’ Ava said. 

Memorable audition: Simon Cowell said he would never forget the audition of school shooting survivor Ava Swiss on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent on NBC

Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting.

‘I chose the song because back on November 30th my brother and I were a part of the Oxford school shooting,’ Ava said. ‘We lost four of our students, and seven others were injured, one of which was a teacher.’

‘When I sing it, I remember the good,’ Ava said. ‘I remember my community, my family, just the love.’

The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished.

Shooting survivor: The 18-year-old singer from Oxford, Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School

Shooting survivor: The 18-year-old singer from Oxford, Michigan, revealed to the judges that it had been hard coping after tragically losing four fellow high school students after a mass shooting in November 2021 at Oxford High School

Inspiring song: Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting

Inspiring song: Ava picked the song Remember by Lauren Daigle for her audition to inspire others to remember the good after the school shooting

Standing ovation: The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished

Standing ovation: The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished

‘Wow,’ said judge and franchise creator Simon, 62. ‘I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. For me this is one of those auditions that I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you’ve got a great voice. You are somebody that I am so happy to have met. I mean, that’s the one thing over the years on this show. We’ve just met the most extraordinary people.’

‘In life it’s tough to show up especially after going through incredible trauma,’ Howie Mandel, 66, said. ‘The fact that you can break through that and shine the way you did today is so inspirational for every human being.’

‘You took my breath away,’ Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava.

High praise: 'Wow,' said judge and franchise creator Simon, 62. 'I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. For me this is one of those auditions that I'll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you've got a great voice'

High praise: ‘Wow,’ said judge and franchise creator Simon, 62. ‘I think you are gutsy. I really, really do. For me this is one of those auditions that I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you. And on top of that, you’ve got a great voice’

Yes votes: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon voted yes and Ava advanced

Yes votes: Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Simon voted yes and Ava advanced

Breath taken: 'You took my breath away,' Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava

Breath taken: ‘You took my breath away,’ Sofia Vergara, 50, told Ava

All the judges voted her on. 

Before her audition, an advisory was displayed that read ‘the next audition was recorded prior to the recent string of tragic mass shootings across the country. Our hearts go out to all of the families and everyone impacted by gun violence.’

Bayley Graham, 22, from Christchurch, New Zealand, opened the show with a tap dancing routine.

First up: Bayley Graham, 22, from Christchurch, New Zealand, opened the show with a tap dancing routine

First up: Bayley Graham, 22, from Christchurch, New Zealand, opened the show with a tap dancing routine

‘You’re a show,’ Howie said when he finished.

‘I think you have an amazing personality,’ Heidi Klum, 49, said. ‘I could watch you all day.’

All the judges voted him on.

Moving forward: All the judges voted Bayley on after his crowd-pleasing audition

Moving forward: All the judges voted Bayley on after his crowd-pleasing audition

Freckled Zelda, who wore fake pointy fairy ears and a fairy-inspired dress, covered Colors Of The Wind and played an ocarina during her audition. She told judges she was from the ‘freckled forest.’

The audience gave her a standing ovation when she finished and she broke down and cried.

‘When you walked out I thought this really is going to be terrible,’ Simon said. ‘And actually, you’ve got a really good voice.’

All the judges voted her on.

Freckled forester: Freckled Zelda, who wore fake pointy fairy ears and a fairy-inspired dress, covered Colors Of The Wind

Freckled forester: Freckled Zelda, who wore fake pointy fairy ears and a fairy-inspired dress, covered Colors Of The Wind

On ocarina: She also played an ocarina during her audition

On ocarina: She also played an ocarina during her audition

Maxence Vire, 32, of Paris, performed a humorous magic routine. He asked Howie for his credit card and then had Simon put the credit card through a paper shredder. He then made the credit card reappear inside of a sealed soda can.

‘I really loved this act,’ Sofia said.

‘You tick all the boxes,’ Heidi said.

The judges all voted for him to move on in the competition.

Magic man: Maxence Vire, 32, of Paris, performed a humorous magic routine

Magic man: Maxence Vire, 32, of Paris, performed a humorous magic routine

Big finish: Howie's credit card magically appeared in a can of soda after Simon shredded it

Big finish: Howie’s credit card magically appeared in a can of soda after Simon shredded it

RCC Aruba, an eight-member dance group, took the stage next. They told the judges their name stood for ‘rhythm, circus & dance company.’ Their aerobatic act consisted of jumping and somersaulting into the air.

 One of the dancers also catapulted himself blindfolded through a ring lit on fire.

‘It was thrilling, it was exciting, it was edgy and you guys blew my mind with this,’ Howie said.

They got four yeses from the judges.

Dance group: RCC Aruba, an eight-member dance group, took the stage next

Dance group: RCC Aruba, an eight-member dance group, took the stage next

Fiery finish: One of the dancers catapulted himself blindfolded through a ring lit on fire

Fiery finish: One of the dancers catapulted himself blindfolded through a ring lit on fire

A group of comedians went next. First was Gina Stahl-Haven, 40, from Novato, California. Simon wasn’t impressed with her performance but the other three judges voted her on. 

Next went Kim Evey from Los Angeles. Simon also didn’t like her but the other judges again voted her on. 

Don McMillan, 62, from Santa Clarita, California, then took the stage.

‘Please not a comedian,’ Simon said.

Stand-up routine: Gina Stahl-Haven, 40, from Novato, California, performed a stand-up routine and advanced with three yes votes and one no from Simon

Stand-up routine: Gina Stahl-Haven, 40, from Novato, California, performed a stand-up routine and advanced with three yes votes and one no from Simon

Funny act: Kim Evey from Los Angeles performed a comedy routine that Simon also didn’t like her but the other judges again voted her on

Funny act: Kim Evey from Los Angeles performed a comedy routine that Simon also didn’t like her but the other judges again voted her on

He used a computer screen diagram to explain that he was a nerd and not a geek. The other judges except for Simon laughed at his routine.

‘You are going to be remembered for the guy who presents his act as a PowerPoint presentation,’ Howie said. ‘This is amazing.’

‘I didn’t get it,’ Simon said. ‘I don’t like PowerPoints so that puts me off.’

Simon gave him a no but the rest of the judges gave him yeses.

Visual aid: Don McMillan, 62, from Santa Clarita, California, used a computer screen diagram to explain that he was a nerd and not a geek

Visual aid: Don McMillan, 62, from Santa Clarita, California, used a computer screen diagram to explain that he was a nerd and not a geek

Moving ahead: Simon gave him a no but the rest of the judges gave him yeses

Moving ahead: Simon gave him a no but the rest of the judges gave him yeses

Best friends and a dancing duo Ciara Nicole, 17, and Trey Rich, 16, from Maryland took the stage next. They danced barefoot in unison to Calum Scott’s song Heaven. The audience gave them a standing ovation when they finished.

Simon asked if there was a story behind the dance. Ciara said that there was.

‘In 2018, my dad passed away unexpectedly from a massive heart attack,’ Ciara said. She added that Trey was always by her side to support her.

‘We always try to be there for each other so in this dance we tried to represent that,’ Trey said.

Best friends: Dancing duo Ciara Nicole, 17, and Trey Rich, 16, from Maryland danced barefoot in unison to Calum Scott's song Heaven

Best friends: Dancing duo Ciara Nicole, 17, and Trey Rich, 16, from Maryland danced barefoot in unison to Calum Scott’s song Heaven

‘I love friendship,’ Simon said. ‘I don’t have many friends.’

Trey and Ciara both told Simon they would be his friends.

‘I have two new friends for life, yes,’ Simon said, voting them on.

Standing ovation: The audience gave them a standing ovation when they finished

Standing ovation: The audience gave them a standing ovation when they finished

Auzzy Blood from Las Vegas described himself as a ‘sideshow freak’ and said, ‘I basically like to endanger my life for other people’s entertainment.’

He ate a sword and then did push ups with it in his mouth. 

He had Howie come on the stage and push a sword down this throat.

Sideshow freak: Auzzy Blood from Las Vegas described himself as a 'sideshow freak' and said, 'I basically like to endanger my life for other people's entertainment'

Sideshow freak: Auzzy Blood from Las Vegas described himself as a ‘sideshow freak’ and said, ‘I basically like to endanger my life for other people’s entertainment’

‘I’m going to throw up,’ Howie said.

‘You’re a real showman,’ Heidi said.

All the judges voted him on.

Helping hand: Howie came on the stage and push a sword down this throat

Helping hand: Howie came on the stage and push a sword down this throat

Duo Mico, an aerialist group, went next. They spun high above the stage holding on at times only by one arm or by a foot.

‘That was sexy and mysterious,’ Sofia said. ‘I want to see more.’

All the judges voted them on.

Aerial act: Duo Mico, an aerialist group, spun high above the stage holding on at times only by one arm or by a foot

Aerial act: Duo Mico, an aerialist group, spun high above the stage holding on at times only by one arm or by a foot

Unanimous decision: All the judges voted them on

Unanimous decision: All the judges voted them on

Debbii Dawson from Los Angeles wowed the judges with a cover of ABBA’s Dancing Queen.

Simon gave her two thumbs up when she finished.

‘You really do have a star quality,’ Howie said.

Debbii got four yeses.

Killed it: Debbii Dawson from Los Angeles wowed the judges with a cover of ABBA's Dancing Queen

Killed it: Debbii Dawson from Los Angeles wowed the judges with a cover of ABBA’s Dancing Queen

Thumbs up: Simon gave her two thumbs up when she finished

Thumbs up: Simon gave her two thumbs up when she finished

Next round: Debbii got four yeses and she advanced

Next round: Debbii got four yeses and she advanced

The final contestant Sethward came out in a giant apple costume and said he was a stand up comedian from New York called ‘The Big Apple.’

Howie, Heidi, Sofia and Simon all buzzed him off the stage. 

Sethward, who has been auditioning on the show for multiple seasons, then crawled out of the apple’s mouth in a worm costume. 

Giant apple: The final contestant Sethward came out in a giant apple costume and said he was a stand up comedian from New York called 'The Big Apple'

Giant apple: The final contestant Sethward came out in a giant apple costume and said he was a stand up comedian from New York called ‘The Big Apple’

Buzzed off: Howie, Heidi, Sofia and Simon all buzzed him off the stage.

Buzzed off: Howie, Heidi, Sofia and Simon all buzzed him off the stage.

Show host Terry Crews, 53, tried to pull him off stage but then accidentally also pulled off his costume. Sethward then ran around the stage with his underwear pulled down.

‘Sorry,’ Simon said.

America’s Got Talent will return next Tuesday on NBC.

Costume malfunction: Show host Terry Crews, 53, tried to pull him off stage but then accidentally also pulled off his costume

Costume malfunction: Show host Terry Crews, 53, tried to pull him off stage but then accidentally also pulled off his costume

Too much: Sethward then ran around the stage with his underwear pulled down as the judges looked on

Too much: Sethward then ran around the stage with his underwear pulled down as the judges looked on

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