Lebanese dancers honor late ‘AGT’ contestant with jaw-dropping routine: ‘What really got us auditioning this year was Nightbirde’


Mayya’s audition for “America’s Got Talent”. (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC)

Last year on America’s Got Talent, 30-year-old singer-songwriter Jane Marczewski, aka Nightbirde, a cancer patient who at the time gave her only a 2% chance of survival, moved Judge Simon Cowell to tears and won his Golden Buzzer with his upbeat original ballad, “It’s Good.” While the Golden Buzzer sped her straight into the live broadcasts of Season 16, when those rounds began two months later, Nightbirde made the difficult decision to drop out of the competition to focus on her cancer treatment. ; in February of this year, she tragically lost her battle with cancer.

This week, a dance troupe of Lebanese women called Mayyas auditioned for AGTciting the brave and resilient Marczewski as their main inspiration – and in the process they honored Nightbirde by earning their own Golden Buzzer.

“Lebanon is not considered a place where you can have a career in dance. It’s hard, really hard – and harder for women,” choreographer Nadim Cherfan, who founded Mayyas to provide a “safe and creative space” for these talented dancers, told host Terry Crews backstage. “I grew up watching America’s Got Talentand I’ve been inspired by so many people, but what really gave us an audition this year is Nightbirde, when she said, “You can’t wait for life to get harder before you decide to be happy.”

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Jane Marczewski, aka Nightbirde.  (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC)

Jane Marczewski, aka Nightbirde. (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC)

True to their name, which means “the proud walk of a lioness”, the Mayya members then strutted around the AGT stage as Marczewski’s “It’s OK” played in the background. As they told Simon and the other judges about their “daily struggle” at home, some of them were visibly torn beneath their beaded veils. “Unfortunately, being a dancer as an Arab woman is not fully supported – Again“, explained one of them with emotion. “Our presence here on the biggest stage in the world is our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do – the art we create, the fights we we lead. … We want to show the world that we are capable of standing tall as truly strong and powerful women.

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Mayyas continued to amaze the panel and the live audience with their intricate and ultra-precise alternative/Arabic dance routine, which earned a four-way standing ovation from the judges. Howie Mandel called it ‘perfection’, Heidi called it ‘stunning’ and Simon told them, ‘It was arguably the best dance number we’ve ever seen, and we’re honored to have you here. »

The troupe was clearly on the verge of receiving four enthusiastic yeses from the panel, but then a particularly enthusiastic Sofia Vergara chimed in, panting: “There are no words to explain to you how we felt here. It was the most beautiful and creative dance I have ever seen! …And I would be so honored to empower you even more on this journey, because you deserve it, and I want to be part of it! With that, Sofia slammed her Golden Buzzer, then ran onto the stage to celebrate with Mayyas as they were showered with confetti in slow motion – and “It’s OK” played once more.

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It wasn’t the first time Mayyas had experienced this kind of golden glory. In 2019 they won the Golden Buzzer on The Arab has talent, which they later won; that same year, they represented Lebanon in season 1 of the all-star international spin-off Great Britain has talent: the champions. (If Simon remembered them from their brief stint on this show, which would probably seem given their unique style, he played dumb on AGT this week.) But as the first Lebanese-Arab dance crew to appear on AGTMayyas, however, made history on Tuesday.

“Seeing the Mayyas America’s Got Talent is the most beautiful feeling I’ve ever felt,” Nadim said, while Simon told the dancers, “It’s really, really going to make a difference, period, in so many positive ways. Nightbirde would certainly be proud of these lionesses.

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