Real recognizes real, and Simon Cowell, perhaps the most brutally honest judge on America's Got Talent, saw something unique and authentic in 11-year-old contestant Tyler Butler-Figueroa during the reality competition's third round of auditions.
A talented violinist, Butler-Figueroa turned to the classical instrument as an escape from bullying by his peers over his leukemia diagnosis. On Tuesday night, the young prodigy delivered an inspiring performance of Kelly Clarkson's infectious pop hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" that ended with a standing ovation from the judges' panel and Cowell offering up a special surprise.
"Wow. I just wanna commend you for taking something that's probably been one of the hardest things you'll ever have to go through and turning it around and finding something that brings you joy," Julianne Hough told him.
"You are an extraordinary young man," Cowell added. "We hear too many stories about people being bullied but I can tell you one thing, most people are bullied because they're better than the people who bully them. And I think you have such an amazing talent, such a personality, and I would like to say something on your behalf to the bullies..."
Cowell completed his sentence by hitting the Golden Buzzer, which automatically sends Butler-Figueroa through to the live shows in the next round. Watch the heartwarming segment in the above video and try not to tear up. I dare you.
America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.