AGT 's Nightbirde Speaks Out During Finale After Exiting amid Cancer Battle: 'Raging and Crying'

·4 min read
America's Got Talent
America's Got Talent

Trae Patton/NBC Nightbirde

America's Got Talent crowned a winner during Wednesday's season 16 finale, but one standout contestant who left the competition early remained on everyone's minds.

Fans have continued to support singer Nightbirde, 30, after she withdrew from the show, announcing on social media that she was no longer able to compete as her health had taken a "turn for the worse."

The Zanesville, Ohio native, whose real name is Jane Marczewski, delivered a standout audition with her original song "It's OK," which is about the past year in her life amid her cancer fight.

At the time of her audition, Nightingale, who received Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer, told audiences that she "had some cancer in my lungs, spine and my liver," adding, "I have a two percent chance of survival, but two percent is not zero percent. Two percent is something, and I wish people knew how amazing it is."

Her story and song resonated with viewers, vaulting her straight to the live shows and earning her millions of views on YouTube, as well as streams on music platforms.

RELATED: AGT's Simon Cowell on Nightbirde's Success After Her Exit

During Wednesday's finale, she opened up about her complicated emotions in a lengthy Instagram post.

"It's so hard for me to not be on the @agt stage for the finals this week," she began. "I bet you never saw someone win so hard and lose so hard at the same time. This isn't how the story was supposed to go."

"I spend a lot of time squeezing my eyes shut and trying to remember what I believe; counting my breaths in the grief cloud; burying my face into God's T-shirt. I remind Him sometimes, (and not kindly) that I believed Him when He told me the story He wrote for me is good, and that He never stops thinking of me," she continued. "I must be a fool in love, because even from under all this debris, I still believe Him. And when I'm too angry to ask Him to sit on my bed until I fall asleep, He still stays."

The songwriter added, "Here we are, you and I, signing off on the risk of REBELLIOUSLY HOPING for better days. Let us not be blind to our own glory. I'm raging and crying and hoping with everyone who needs to rage and cry and hope tonight."

RELATED: AGT Crowns a Champion! Magician Dustin Tavella Wins Season 16

During AGT's finale week, Cowell spoke to PEOPLE about Nightbirde's decision to leave the show to focus on her health.

"Unfortunately, she is really ill and could not make the finals. However, it was always her dream for her music to be heard by millions. That's what's happened off the back of this," the judge said. "We talk about once every two weeks. It was a difficult conversation we had about does she enter the show or not. I know that she was very down. I called her and I said that, 'Honestly if I was in your position, I wouldn't do it.' Because you don't need the stress right now. It's just not worth it."

Cowell also recalled telling Nightbirde that she had already won by sharing her story during the first round. "You can always re-enter the show, or you don't have to, because at this point, when you put your music out, I think a lot of people are going to buy it. So why put yourself through it?" he said. "You're not letting anyone down, because that's what she kept saying to me. You're not — you're going to be missed, but you're not letting anyone down."

During the live shows in August, Nightbirde shared an emotional moment with Cowell when she made a virtual appearance and thanked everyone for the overwhelming amount of support she had received, which she said "restored my faith in humanity."

And on Tuesday, the first of two finale episodes, Cowell gave her a shout-out, wishing her well in her recovery.

"I've been feeling pretty rough, but I'm healing day by day. My favorite thing about this is seeing just how many people believe in miracles. And I suspect we'll see one," the singer wrote in one of her latest health updates.

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