Simon Cowell has become an ambassador for the Innocence Project after hearing the “tragic” story of America’s Got Talent contestant Archie Williams.
Williams appeared on the US version of the ITV show, where Cowell is a judge, to sing Sir Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.
He told the judges how he had spent more than 30 years in a Louisiana prison after being falsely convicted of rape.
The Innocence Project, which helped with his case, uses DNA testing to exonerate people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes.
Writing on Instagram, Cowell said: “What happened to Archie is tragic.
“While his voice is extraordinary, unfortunately his experience of being sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit is more common than people realize.
“I’m honored to become an Ambassador for the @innocenceproject and want to do what I can to help more people like Archie.
“@archiewilliamsofficial’s story is one of courage and hope – and I hope that by knowing more about his story and the Innocence Project, it will encourage more people to support the incredible work they do.
“These guys don’t just talk; they actually do something about it. The Innocence Project doesn’t just change people’s lives, they save people’s lives.”
Cowell judges the US spin-off alongside Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara.
In an accompanying video from the audition, Cowell tells Williams that he delivered an audition he “will never forget for the whole of my life”.
Williams tells the panel: “I knew I was innocent, I didn’t commit a crime but being a poor black kid, I didn’t have the ability to fight the state of Louisiana.”