Gospel singer Ben Waites absolutely wowed the judges on “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday night, bringing actress Sofía Vergara to tears with his stunning performance.
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But it’s his story of overcoming and persisting that is truly inspiring.
Waites, 32, was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), a disease that impacts the joints. Despite facing many struggles, he has persevered and brought his talents to the stage.
The talented singer chose to perform his own rendition of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper — a song he said is all about having hope.
“I am a Southern Gospel singer and a vocal coach,” Waites told judges Vergara, Simon Cowell, and Heidi Klum. “The message of the song, I fee,l is able to speak to people no matter their age, their race, their background. It’s able to communicate a message of hope.”
Waites’ performance not only sparked cheering and a standing ovation, but Vergara was in tears throughout the singer’s rendition of the song.
“Sophia is bawling her eyes out right now,” Klum said after Waites finished.
Vergara then explained why she was so moved by the moment.
“I loved it because you know it’s a beautiful song, but you made it yours,” she said. “And it was special. It was different.”
Watch the touching performance:
Cowell — a harsh critic known for his oft-times stern rebukes — called the performance a “great audition,” and all three judges voted for Waites to advance.
And while advancing and trying to win are beautiful goals, Waites told the Baptist Press that, for him, it’s really all about “serving Christ and showing the love of God” to as many people as possible. He sees “America’s Got Talent” as a platform to reach others.
Waites said winning isn’t important to him but that he is focused on spreading Jesus’ love.
“What I’m more concerned about is appropriately and effectively showing the Gospel of Christ through this opportunity,” he said. “It’s very important that I get that message across.”
Waites, who is in a wheelchair, also told Baptist Press about his past health struggles and how his family encouraged him never to let his disability hold him back.
“It wasn’t really a thing growing up because it was just my life. I don’t ever think about it just because each day is just another day for me where I’m using this wheelchair to get around or a stylus in my mouth to type,” he said. “Growing up, my parents and grandparents kept that same mentality in how they raised me.”
Waites continued, “They would encourage me that if I wanted to do something, then do it, and do it to the best of my ability. There were no excuses, and you would just figure out how to do what you wanted to do.”
He said he’s hoping to inspire people who might be struggling to look at his life and see the power and importance of “perspective.”
“My mind always goes to Romans 8:28 and knowing that everything has a purpose,” Waites told Baptist Press. “What I would hope my life demonstrates for others going through hard struggles is if your perspective is in the right place, then you can persevere, endure and see it through to the end.”
Waites has a powerful message of hope, resilience, and overcoming the odds. His journey of perseverance certainly has the power to point people toward Christ.
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