Nebraska native Brody Ray took the America’s Got Talent stage during his audition on Tuesday night’s (June 27) episode and quickly had Mel B in tears.
Ray shared that he chose to perform the song “Stand In The Light” by season nine winner of The Voice Jordan Smith because it “applies to [his] life and overcoming struggles and battles. He then revealed to the judges and audience that he is transgender.
Met with immediate applause from the audience, the singer took to the mic to deliver an impassioned performance.
“This is who I am inside/This is who I am, and I’m not going to hide,” he sang out. “‘Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far/To stand in the light and be seen as we are.”
The show’s judges, visibly touched by the tender performance, joined the audience in a standing ovation as Ray let out the last note. “You’ve got an amazing voice. I like you. You are inspirational, so for you, I think it is really important you start singing your own material because I actually think you can be a force to be reckoned with,” judge Simon Cowell told Ray.
“This song made me cry the moment I heard it,” Ray later wrote on Twitter. “And today it helped change my life forever.” Ray also took to Instagram to share an inspiring message: “Stand in the light and be seen as you are. Don’t let your differences cause you to hide. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t let it tell you what you can and can’t do with your life. Be proud. Be strong. Be out.”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. EST.
Watch Brody Ray’s full performance below: