'America's Got Talent': Simon Cowell praises 'extraordinary' 11-year-old violinist who survived cancer

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Tyler Butler-Figueroa wowed the 'America's Got Talent' audience with his violin skills. (Credit: NBC)

An 11-year-old cancer survivor wowed America’s Got Talent viewers on Tuesday night with an impressive violin performance, and he certainly warmed the heart of Simon Cowell.

The famously acid-tongued judge pressed his golden buzzer for Tyler Butler-Figueroa, whom he praised as an “extraordinary young man”.

Tyler, from North Carolina in the USA, started playing the violin at the age of seven after he was bullied at school in the aftermath of being diagnosed with leukemia when he was four.

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Cruel bullies spread rumours that his cancer was contagious and Tyler said he was “sad and embarrassed” to go to school after he lost his hair during chemotherapy.

He revealed he has now been in remission for almost four years, before delivering a fantastic rendition of Kelly Clarkson hit ‘Stronger’ on his violin.

“You are an extraordinary young man,” said Cowell, after the performance.

He 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.

“I think you have such an amazing talent, such a personality.”

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The 59-year-old said he had something to say to those who bullied Tyler and pressed his golden buzzer, guaranteeing the violinist a passage to the live shows, skipping the ‘Judge Cuts’ stage.

Simon Cowell congratulates violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa after pressing his golden buzzer for him on 'America's Got Talent'. (Credit: NBC)

Tyler joins two other acts who have been buzzed through to the live shows by judges Gabrielle Union and Howie Mandel.

He was emotionally congratulated on stage by his mother, Cowell and host Terry Crews.

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America’s Got Talent is currently airing on Tuesday evenings on NBC in the States.

The winner of the competition earns one million dollars (£790,000) in prize money, as well as the chance to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip.