A performance by 13-year-old Rion Paige of Jacksonville, Fla., of Carrie Underwood’s famous “Blown Away” left an “X Factor” audience, well, blown away.
Paige was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which is characterized by joint contractures and can include muscle weakness and other joint problems.
However, the disease is not progressive and leaves people who are diagnosed with no cognitive or other impairments beyond their joints, and Paige proved it to Simon Cowell and company.
Cowell was left explaining that his vote for Paige was the “easiest ‘yes’ I have given to anyone in my life.”
“I think you’re, literally, extraordinary,” he said.
He recalled meeting Underwood, who originally recorded the song.
“I’m going to say the same about you, Rion,” he said. “In every single way you are a beautiful person.”
Before the cameras faded, he added, “I’m blown away. I would love to work with her.”
Alisa, Rion’s mother, on hand to see her daughter’s success, told cameras before the performance: “It’s not for me to hold her back. It’s for me to give her every opportunity. It’s your time to fly, baby.”
The judges, Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio, Cowell and Demi Lovato, were unanimous in voting for the 13-year-old, who matter-of-factly told them that arthrogryposis multiplex congenital is a lot of words that mean something simple.
With that, she waved at them.
Her diagnosis, she said, just means, “I have to learn how to do things differently.”