Texas, like all places, is the site of both triumphs and tragedies. Every Friday in The Best Thing In Texas, we look for something that reminded us why we love our home state so much.
WHAT: A performance on America’s Got Talent.
WHO: Kechi Okwuchi and Kelly Clarkson (with some help from fellow America’s Got Talent contestant Angelica Hale).
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Wednesday night, during a performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by America’s Got Talent contestants Okwuchi and Hale, the two paused to introduce a surprise guest: Clarkson. The Texas native, who graced the cover of Texas Monthly’s May 2005 issue, strode on stage to help the duo close out the song.
If you’ve been following this season of America’s Got Talent, you’re probably familiar with Okwuchi’s story. In 2005, she was on a domestic flight in Nigeria that crash landed. Of the 108 people on board, including the seven crew members, only Okwuchiand one other person survived. She suffered severe burns and was sent to Milpark Hospital in South Africa for treatment. In 2007, she began receiving treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Galveston and has had nearly 100 surgeries since.
As Simon Cowell, one of the show’s judges has previously noted, Okwuchi’s performances feel more like personal anthems. Like her take on “Conqueror” from Fox’s show Empire, Okwuchi singing “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” sounded like a personal testament of what she’s been through. Singing it with Hale, who battled a near fatal illness when she was younger, may be a bit on the nose, but it’s also genuine. Okwuchi survived a devastating accident that took over a hundred lives—she’ll sing about it if she wants to. And having Clarkson singing it along with her doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, Okwuchi didn’t take home the grand prize for America’s Got Talent, but that doesn’t make her performance any less impactful.