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Oxford High School Shooting Survivor Moves Judges in Emotional AGT Audition: ‘Love Is Stronger Than Hate

Oxford High School Shooting Survivor Moves Judges in Emotional AGT Audition: 'Love Is Stronger Than Hate'

NS 아메리카 갓 탤런트 judges were wowed this week by an 18-year-old singer who survived a school shooting in Oxford, 미시간.

During Tuesday’s episode, Oxford High School senior Ava Swiss took the stage to perform the song “기억하다” by Lauren Daigle. Prior to singing, Swiss revealed that she was a survivor of the mass shooting that unfolded in November 2021.

Back on November 30, my brother and I were a part of the Oxford school shooting,” Swiss explained. “We’ve lost four of our students and seven others were injured, one of which was a teacher.

When judge 사이먼 코웰 asked how she’s been doing since the tragedy, Swiss told him, “힘들었다. I remember my brother and I, we were talking to each other and we said, ‘There’s no way we’re ever stepping foot back in the school.But we’ve actually been in person in the school for about two months now, so things are getting better.

After delivering a powerful performance, Swiss received a standing ovation from the judges, as well as four unanimous yeses to continue on to the next round.

In life, it’s tough to show up, especially after going through incredible trauma,” 말했다 하위 만델. “The fact that you can break through that, and shine you way you did today, is so inspirational for every human being.

하이디 클룸 called Swiss “믿을 수없는” while fellow judge Sofía Vergara noted how Swisstook my breath away” 그리고 “gave me goosebumps.

I think you are gutsy,” added Cowell. “나를위한, this is one of those auditions I’ll never forget. I really have so much respect for you, and on top of that, you’ve got a great voice. You’re really somebody who I’m so happy to have met.

아메리카 갓 탤런트

아메리카 갓 탤런트
Ava Swiss on America’s Got Talent
| 신용 거래: 트레이 패튼/NBC

Following her emotional audition, Swiss tells PEOPLE that the moment still feels “초현실적”

I remember being on the stage and thinking, '우와, you’re really here. It’s really happening.’ 내 말은, all my life, all my childhood I watched the show and I always kind of dreamed that I would be able to be on that stage one day,” 그녀는 말한다. “So when I was there, and then on top of it, getting all of the positive feedback, I felt very, very proud of myselfIt was an overwhelming amount of happiness.

Speaking to why she wanted to audition, Swiss says she was inspired by her hometown’s strength and unity, and wanted to represent them in a positive light.

After some time of coping and thinking and everything, I felt like I should use it as an opportunity to try to show more people than I ever imagined who Oxford really is,” 그녀는 설명한다. “We’re not just a town with a tragedy. I wanted to show them what our community is really like, and most importantly, how a community can come together and how they have proved that things do get better with hope, love and support.

아메리카 갓 탤런트

아메리카 갓 탤런트
Ava Swiss
| 신용 거래: 트레이 패튼/NBC

Of the four victims who lost their lives that day, Swiss says she was friendly with one: 17-year-old Justin Shilling. Though they had distanced in the last two years of his life, in part due to remote learning amid the COVID pandemic, Swiss believes her late friend would’ve been proud of her 여덟 오디션.

Freshman year, we had a huge crush on each other all year,” 그녀는 회상한다. “He was just one of those people where even if we kind of faded over time, he would always come back around and he’d be the type to come back and say, '이봐, 축하합니다. 당신이 정말 자랑스럽습니다. This is amazing.He’d be the one to reach out no matter how much time has gone by.

As she moves forward on the show, Swiss hopes that she can send an important message to viewers at home.

Love is stronger than hate,” 그녀는 말한다. “Lots of people still can’t fully heal, especially the four families. It’s obviously a lot harder for them. But with time, things do get better with hope and with support and with love from other people.

The weeks after everything had happened, the amount of donations that [we received], even big companies like Chick-fil-A and Olive Garden were donating pounds and pounds of food to us,” 그녀는 덧붙인다. “It was the simplest things like that that really showed us … 내 말은, that’s what got us through, 제 생각에는, is the love and support.

While she prepares for the next round of the competition, Swiss says she’s most excited to keep singing and connect with others.

I’m just hoping that I can reach even more people and share my message and share my story and my voice,” 그녀는 말한다. “One of my favorite parts of this whole experience, even when I went to LA back in April, I loved all the new people I got to meet. Because again, even after everything on November 30th, I met some really amazing people and I had some really amazing people reach out to me and it just shows how much kindness there is in the world.

So I’d love being able to meet some more people that are like me, and even people that share passion for singing, it’s very cool,” 그녀는 덧붙인다. “I’ve performed a lot, but not ever this big. It’s very surreal.

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아메리카 갓 탤런트 화요일에 방송 8 오후. NBC의 동부 표준시.