America's Got Talent's Simon Cowell Sheds New Light On Former Contestant Nightbirde's Cancer Battle

Another season of America's Got Talent has come to an end, and the Top 10 was chock full of golden buzzer winners still in the running for the top prize. Unfortunately, one golden buzzer never had the chance to make it to the finals, as Jane Marczewski – better known on AGT by her performance name of Nightbirde – had to withdraw from competition early on due to her battle with cancer getting worse. Simon Cowell, who had wasted no time in awarding her his golden buzzer following her audition, has shed some light on Nightbirde's cancer battle and decision to withdraw.

America's Got Talent's two-night finale event featured some of the best performances of all of Season 16, but it was somewhat bittersweet to not have Nightbirde among the competitors, as Simon Cowell remained confident that she would have made it to the finals. Speaking with ET after the final batch of performances before the competitors' fates were in the hands of the voters, Cowell elaborated on what's happening with Nightbirde:

As you know, my golden buzzer tonight couldn't perform, Nightbirde. I did speak to her today, and I said, 'I'm calling you because I know how you must be feeling.' The two of us made the decision for her not to enter the competition because of the stress. Would she have won tonight? I think she probably would, actually, and I think she knows that deep down. Having said that, she knows she made the right decision.

Nightbirde may not have been able to continue in competition due to her health, but she was certainly not forgotten. Simon Cowell taking the time to reach out due to understanding of how she would be feeling about missing out is a touching reveal, as is the fact that Cowell and Nightbirde together decided that she would withdraw. Cowell supporting her in putting her health first, even though he's the one who gave her a golden buzzer, shows that the AGT experience isn't all about that $1 million prize.

And hopefully Nightbirde's disappointment about missing the full AGT experience is at least somewhat lessened by Simon Cowell's faith that she probably would have won Season 16. In fact, only one golden buzzer winner made the Top 5 of Season 16. The person who did end up winning (with Cowell joining in the celebration) wasn't a singer at all, but there's no saying how differently America might have voted if she had been able to make the finals.

Simon Cowell shedding light on the decision for her to withdraw came shortly after he delivered an update on her health during the NBC broadcast on Tuesday night, when he said:

We are missing Jane tonight, I spoke to her earlier on. The great news is she's doing better! I know she would have been here at the finals and we're all sending you, Jane, our love. We miss you. Just get better. We love you.

Nightbirde first announced her departure from America's Got Talent back in early August with an emotional message on social media, in which she shared that her health took a turn for the worse since her audition and was requiring all of her attention and energy. She was clear that she was "so sad" to have to announce that she wouldn't be continuing on AGT, and thanked fans for their support.

Now, just hours after the AGT finale that crowned a different Season 16 champion, she took to Instagram with a post that was a combination of sad, uplifting, and painfully honest:

A photo posted by on

While Nightbirde's journey on America's Got Talent had to come to a premature end, hopefully her health will continue to improve. AGT has a history of bringing back standout performers even if they didn't win, so if her health permits, I wouldn't be surprised if she appears as a guest in Season 17 or beyond, or even as a guest for one of the Vegas shows.

Or who knows? After Sethward auditioned multiple times over multiple seasons, maybe she could compete again. For now, she can just focus on her health and what's in front of her. Whether or not she ever returns to the AGT stage, her performance in Season 16 that earned her the golden buzzer from Simon Cowell himself was unforgettable.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).