Archie Williams once again had audiences cheering for him from their homes. He was wrongly convicted in 1983 crime and incarcerated for over 36 years.
Williams was back on America’s Got Talent stage and he gave an unforgettable performance. He sang the cover of Elton John’s hit song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”during his auditions. Williams came back on stage to showcase his talents for the live quarterfinals on Tuesday.
He sang the cover of Steve Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today”. Judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara as well as guest judge Kelly Clarkson were all present at the Universal Studios Hollywood. Archie was wrongly convicted three decades ago.
AGT had a virtual audience for the first time and it featured audio and video of fans watching Tuesday’s live episode. Simon Cowell could not be a part of the session because of his back injury. The host of the show, Terry Crews sent the love and best wishes from AGT’s family.
Kelly gushed she had waited for years to be a judge on the show. She said, “I love Simon but I’m getting really used to this chair buddy,” said Clarkson, who filled in for Cowell. “I didn’t mind stepping in for him, I love the show.”
The Judges Appreciate Archie
Kelly appreciated Archie, who made it past the judge cuts round weeks ago. She said his story is incredible and inspiring and thanked him for the wonderful performance. The singer further said, “I don’t want your story to overshadow [your singing]. Your tone is so cool. It was incredible to hear such a great storyteller. Those are my favorite kind of singers. You did a really great job.”
Sofia said he deserves it more than anyone while Heidi said she could feel all his pain. She said it could not be more perfect.
Williams’ talent is not the only part of his story that has shined an enormous spotlight on him. His newfound independence and adversity have also motivated countless viewers.
In 1983, Williams was condemned of aggravated rape and attempted murder in Louisiana. The fingerprint evidence did not match his own, and witnesses claimed that he was at his own home the night of the incident. However, Williams was sentenced to life in prison at Louisiana State Penitentiary without the opportunity of parole.
At the 12-year mark of his prison sentence, Williams reached out to the Innocence Project with a request for the organization to exonerate him. Their years of hard work and new fingerprint-matching technology gave enough evidence. Williams’ case was reversed due to the fingerprints found at the scene of the crime matching a serial rapist.
After being detained for more than 36 years, Williams was released from prison in March 2019.
Archie on Coming Back
In an interview with People, he said, “I used gospel music to reach out to people, mostly my time in prison”. This comes after his audition went viral online. “When I first got there, I got me a band and I started to reach out to people there with my music.”
As for winning season 15, Williams said he has his eye on the $1 million prize. He said his main goal is to win and he is confident that he will win.
Tuesday’s episode showed the first 11 of the 44 acts. Five will advance to the semifinal round when the viewer votes are announced on Wednesday’s broadcast.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.