Makayla Brownlee suffers from a condition called vasovagal syncope

By Christina Dugan
March 27, 2020 02:40 PM
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American Idol contestant Makayla Brownlee is reliving the terrifying moment she had a seizure onstage.

In an exclusive sneak peek of Sunday’s episode that takes place at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa on the sands of Ko Olina, Hawaii , the 17-year-old contestant from Wellington, Kansas sat down with in-house mentor Bobby Bones to discuss exactly what was going through her mind the moment she collapsed onstage.

“Before you have a seizure, do you feel it coming on?” Bones asked.

“Usually I have at least 30 seconds before it happens,” said Brownlee. “I was able to walk off the stage.”

“So if another seizure happens, what are you going to do?” asked Bones.

“I’m going to get back up and I’m going to perform just like all the other times,” Brownlee stated.

Makayla Brownlee
ABC

During Monday’s episode, Brownlee suffered a seizure onstage — leaving judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie concerned for her health.

Taking the stage for her solo performance of Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow,” Brownlee seemed to become disoriented in her speech and quickly walked offstage before collapsing to the floor.

The judges were quick to react as crew members surrounded Brownlee and alerted EMTs.

“I’m going to go check on her,” Bryan said, before heading backstage.

“Give her a little space,” said Perry.

Katy Perry
ABC

“Makayla has a condition that is pretty rare,” Brownlee’s dad, Mark, explained to cameras.

“In seventh grade, I was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope,” Brownlee told the cameras after the incident. “It’s a heart condition that causes me to react to stress differently than other people, and it could cause a seizure.”

Added Mark, “She can’t control it. She’s embarrassed, but physically, she’s 100 percent all right. This opportunity is so important for her. I’d hate to see it inhibited in any way because she’s such a good singer. She works so hard at it.”

A few hours later, Brownlee returned to the stage to a standing ovation and sang her heart out — a performance that brought Perry to tears.