Tyler Butler-Figueroa has been in remission from leukemia for four years

By Karen Mizoguchi
September 03, 2019 08:00 PM
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America’s Got Talent is heading into the semifinals!

The competition on the NBC series is heating once again as contestants like violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa up their acts to win the $1 million prize and headlining gigs in Las Vegas.

But win or lose, the 11-year-old has already made an impact on others.

“I hope to be an inspiration to many children,” the young star tells PEOPLE of his time on AGT thus far.

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Quarter Finals 2" Episode 1414 -- Pictured: Tyler Butler-Figueroa -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
Tyler Butler-Figueroa
| Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia at 4½ years old and had been bullied for losing his hair during chemotherapy. He has been in remission for four years now.

In addition to judge Simon Cowell’s strong support, Tyler was praised by judge Gabrielle Union for encouraging kids “to put down their controller and to pick up an instrument.”

“It felt great for her to say that,” the Raleigh, North Carolina, native tells PEOPLE.

Tyler has become a fan-favorite contestant on the show and someone whom Cowell recently said “everyone will be rooting for.”

Cowell added, “He’s a great kid.”

But Tyler will have some tough competition in the semifinals against a fellow Golden Buzzer winner, singer Kodi Lee.

In addition, they will face off with dance troupe Light Balance Kids (guest judge Ellie Kemper’s Golden Buzzer choice), singer Ansley Burns, singer Benicio Bryant, magician Eric Chien, comedian Jackie Fabulous, singer Robert Finley, comedian Greg Morton, hand-balancing trio Messoudi Brothers and the Ndlovu Youth Choir.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.