An 18-year-old singer who survived a school shooting in Oxford, Michigan captivated America’s Got Talent judges on Tuesday. Ava Swiss, a senior at Oxford High School, appeared on Tuesday’s TV episode to sing “Remember,” by Lauren Daigle. Swiss said before performing that she was a victim of the mass shooting that occurred in November 2021.
“Back on November 30, my brother and I were a part of the Oxford school shooting,” Swiss told the judges. “We’ve lost four of our students and seven others were injured, one of which was a teacher.” America’s Got Talent judge Simon Cowell asked Swiss how she was coping since the shooting. “It’s been hard. 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.”
Swiss received a standing ovation from the judges after delivering a powerful performance. She was also awarded four unanimous yeses to continue on to the next round. “In life, it’s tough to show up, especially after going through incredible trauma,” Howie Mandel told Swiss. “The fact that you can break through that, and shine you way you did today, is so inspirational for every human being.”
“I think you are gutsy,” Cowell added. “For me, 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.”
America’s Got Talent singer says “Things do get better with hope, love and support”
After her audition on America’s Got Talent, Ava Swiss opened up about the experience. “I remember being on the stage and thinking, ‘Wow, you’re really here. It’s really happening.’ I mean, 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, “Swiss told People. “So when I was there, and then on top of it, getting all of the positive feedback, I felt very, very proud of myself… It was an overwhelming amount of happiness.”
Swiss, speaking about why she wanted to audition, said she was inspired by her home city. “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,” Swiss elaborated. “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.”