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27 May 2020, 13:28 | Updated: 27 May 2020, 14:28
Wrongly Incarcerated Singer Archie Williams Delivers Unforgettable Song
A contestant on America's Got Talent has brought the judges - and Elton John - to tears.
The 73-year-old 'Rocketman' singer said he was moved to tears by the contestant's version of the song and compared his courage to that of Nelson Mandela.
Just moments before his performance on America's Got Talent, Archie Williams revealed to the judges that he had been released from prison after 36 years when DNA evidence proved his innocence.
I was moved to tears when I heard Archie’s story and saw him perform "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me". The courage and forgiveness shown by him is truly inspiring. The same spirit that the world found so inspiring with Nelson Mandela. Love, E xx https://t.co/oYxM3IyvWB— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 26, 2020
"The courage and forgiveness shown by him is truly inspiring. The same spirit that the world found so inspiring with Nelson Mandela."
After the performance Simon Cowell said: "I will never ever listen to the song in the same way after you. It took on a whole different meaning for me… this is an audition I would never forget for the rest of my life."
Archie Williams was wrongly imprisoned when he was just 22-years-old for raping and stabbing a white woman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The victim wrongly identified him multiple times despite witnesses proving that Archie was asleep at home as the time of the attack.
Archie was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary and sentenced to life in prison without the option of parole.
'I knew I was innocent. I didn’t commit a crime but being a poor black kid, I didn’t have the ability to fight the state of Louisiana,' he told AGT host, Terry Crews.
"Freedom is of the mind," he added. "I went to prison but I never let my mind go to prison."
Wrongly Incarcerated Singer Archie Williams Delivers Unforgettable Song - America's Got Talent 2020
Archie's America's Got Talent audition took place just months after he was freed from prison.
Thanks to the work of Innocence Project, who started working on his case in the 1990's and found DNA evidence to prove his innocence, Archie was released from prison in 2019.
The contestant said he had always wanted to audition for America's Got Talent and had kept his voice in shape by singing while incarcerated at Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana.