Debuting an original song titled “This Time,” the 29-year-old singer took the stage to belt out her emotional lyrics, which were met with a roaring standing ovation from the crowd as well as judges Simon Cowell, Melanie “Mel B” Brown, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel.
Though Harvey’s performance was very powerful, what was even more moving was her emotional video message, during which she broke down in tears when recalling how she lost all her hearing when she was 18-years-old due to a connective tissue disorder that deteriorated nerves in her ears.
“One day I was walking and I fell down the stairs, I couldn’t move. and thought to myself ‘Is this it?’” said Harvey, whom Cowell chose as the recipient of his coveted Golden Buzzer during the auditions.
“‘I have two choices: I can stay here forever or I can make the difficult choice to stand up and move forward and run.’ That’s what got me here today,” she recalled of her decision to try out for the 12th season of AGT.
Cowell was overcome with emotions, so much so, that he said, “I can’t take much more of this. My emotions feel like I’m in a washing machine.”
“You lost your hearing 10 years ago. You haven’t heard Adele, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, but your voice is so current, so amazing,” Cowell told Harvey. “I want to put your story to one side and judge you as a singer, it was amazing … It was remarkable.”
Following her performance, Harvey further explained to host Tyra Banks: “There’s really not much you can do if you stay on the ground. Time will pass you by, life will pass you by. I just didn’t want to give up.”
The season 12 winner of America’s Got Talent will be named on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.