Published 5:52 p.m. UTC Sep 5, 2018
A bullied teenager on "America's Got Talent" is sending a message to kids facing similar situations: "You guys will get through it, it does get better."
Singer Amanda Mena brought down the house with a soulful rendition of Pharell's hit song "Happy," during the first semifinals round Tuesday. Judges Melanie Brown and Heidi Klum praised the 15-year-old for her "brave choice" in song, but to Mena the lyrics mean so much more.
Speaking to bullied kids across the nation, the sympathetic singer said: "I just want to tell you guys that you are special. Don’t listen to what anybody else says about you, you can do anything if you just believe in yourself and have your family behind you."
She tweeted shortly after: "Feeling so happy right now."
More: The enduring appeal of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ explained
In a package played before the performance, Mena's parents said they moved to the United States to give her a shot at the American Dream.
"I’d wake her up in the morning and she would say, ’Mommy, I don’t want to go to school, because the kids bully me," Miosotis Mena Heredia said while getting emotional. "'They say I don’t know English and I should go back to Santo Domingo.'"
Mena Heredia said the experience was difficult to witness and hopes no mother in the world has to "live through what I did with my daughter." However, she said the kids that taunted Mena taught her to believe in herself.
"I want to thank those people, because maybe the things they put Amanda through, she overcame and she became stronger," her mother said.
The judges took notice. Simon Cowell praised Amanda's "confidence" while Howie Mandel added: "You had a tough start and it made you tougher, and I think that’s what brought you to the level that you’re able to perform to now."
Mena's future is now up to the fans — viewers can vote until early Wednesday (7 a.m. ET).
"America’s Got Talent" will reveal which five acts will advance to the finals Wednesday night.
Also: 'America's Got Talent': Married couple Us The Duo dedicate touching song to unborn daughter
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