Louisiana's Archie Williams again warmed the judges' hearts with his performance of "Flying Without Wings" on the first night of "America's Got Talent's" semi-final rounds on Tuesday night.

In the intro prior to Williams taking the stage he explained that he selected the song with his daughter in mind — a daughter, Ayesha, who he didn't know existed until he was freed after 37 years at Angola Penitentiary.

The 60-year-old Williams also related how, while performing on the Aug. 11 quarterfinals show, his daughter was listening on the phone inside his pocket.

"Did you like it?" he asked her. 

"You made me cry," Ayesha answered.

Although Williams' rendition of the Irish boy band Westlife's "Flying" was not without flaws, it stirred the judges sitting in the empty theater at Universal Studios Los Angeles just the same.

"Heidi, you're standing up," host Terry Crews commented to judge Heidi Klum after she took to her feet during Williams' performance.

"I always stand for Archie," Klum said.

"What you make us feel is incredible," judge Sofia Vergara added.

"Your imperfection is perfection," third judge Howie Mandel chimed in.

Crews asked Williams how it's been getting to know 41-year-old Ayesha.

"It's everyday joy," he said. "It's the most profoundest experience of my life."

Williams' story of being wrongfully convicted on rape and attempted murder charges and incarcerated went viral in May. The Innocence Project aided in his exoneration and release in 2019.  

Williams, a native of Baton Rouge and resident of New Orleans, was one of 11 contestants who performed Tuesday night. After America's vote, five of those will advance to the finals and become one step closer to winning the $1 million and their own show in Las Vegas.

To vote for Williams (the deadline is 6 a.m. Wednesday), go to https://agt.vote.nbc.com/ or vote on the AGT app. 

The results show airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday on NBC. For cable viewers, that's WVLA, Channel 33 (cable Channel 3 in Baton Rouge), KLAF, Channel 15 (cable Channel 3 in Lafayette) and WDSU, Channel 6 (cable Channel 7 in New Orleans).


Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.