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School shooting survivor’s emotional ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition leaves judges stunned

Ava Swiss got a standing ovation after belting “Remember” by Lauren Daigle, a song that she said helps her cope in the wake of the fatal mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan.
Ava Swiss performs on "America's Got Talent."
Ava Swiss performs on "America's Got Talent."Trae Patton / NBC

An 18-year-old survivor of the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan on Tuesday wowed the crowd with a moving performance on “America’s Got Talent,” earning her a standing ovation from all four judges. 

Ava Swiss, a senior at the school, belted “Remember” by Lauren Daigle, a song that she said helps her cope in the wake of the November 2021 shooting in suburban Detroit.

Before performing, Swiss opened up about her song choice.

“I chose this song because back on Nov. 30, my brother and I were a part of the Oxford school shooting,” she said. “We lost four of our students and seven others were injured, one of which was a teacher.”

“It’s been hard,” Swiss continued. “I remember my brother and I, we were talking to each other and said there’s no way we were ever stepping foot back in the school. But we’ve actually been in person in school for about two months now, so things are getting better.”

Her heart-wrenching performance earned her cheers from the crowd as she sang the lyrics: “I’ll remember, even when my own eyes could not see, you were always there, always there with me.”

Swiss said singing the song allows her to “remember the good.”

“I remember my community, my family, just the love. And I remember that it’s all there for me, and it’ll help me get to where I need to be,” she said.

Swiss became emotional after her song, seeing the standing ovation from the crowd and judges, all roaring with applause.

“It was amazing, even more amazing over here. Wow,” supermodel Heidi Klum said after hearing the piece from the judge’s table. 

Comedian Howie Mandel called Swiss "inspiring."

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

Actor Sofia Vergara told Swiss her performance "took my breath away."

“You were not just singing, you were showing us your feelings and it gave me goosebumps,” she said.

Simon Cowell called Swiss “gutsy,” adding “this is one of those auditions I will never forget.”

Swiss received a "yes" from each judge to continue in the competition.

Following the Oxford High School mass shooting, suspect Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult and pleaded not guilty to two dozen charges, including murder. His parents were arrested on four counts each of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.